Posted in background checks
In the 2016 HireRight Employment Screening Benchmark Report, key insights were identified in the education industry around the hiring landscape, HR hiring challenges, and background checking benefits and best practices.
They recently created a great infographic for these insights – and we’ve pulled a few of the most interesting – and impactful – statistics to share with you:
- 84% of higher education programs see lies or misrepresentations on their candidate’s applications
- 90% higher education organizations conduct criminal record searches…
- …But only 61% perform identity verification checks
- 76% don’t perform social media background checks (while the most common social media platform used for screening was LinkedIn (17%))
- 79% still use online job boards as one of their primary recruitment resources
- Key benefits of screening were identified as “better quality of hires” and “more consistent safety and security”
- Key challenges faced by higher education organizations include “finding qualified candidates” and “retaining employees”
Not only are colleges and universities tasked with providing a quality level of education, but they’re also responsible for ensuring the safety of the student and staff population. There’s no question that college campuses are more at risk than ever.
While most higher education organizations have a background screening process in place for new hires and students, most do not recheck regularly. An encompassing and holistic background check process is one way to minimize the risk.
To learn more about how you can improve your screening program, or launch a new program, contact our team today.
Posted in drug test
Employers that are new to implementing drug tests face a steep learning curve. There’s a lot to learn – both logistically and also legislatively.
One question we often see asks the difference between a 5 panel and 10 panel drug test. We wanted to lay that answer out clearly on our blog as a resource for future reference.
While the 5 panel urine test is the most commonly used test, the 10 panel covers a wider range of drugs. Here’s what they entail:
Basic 5 – Panel Urine Lab Test
- Cocaine Metabolites
- Marijuana Metabolites (THC)
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
Basic 10 – Panel Urine Lab Test
- Cocaine Metabolites
- Marijuana Metabolites (THC)
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
There isn’t really a universal definition of a panel drug test, however. Many organizations will implement a 4 panel drug test, a 7 panel drug test, or a 12 panel drug test.
For example, some organizations will remove marijuana from a 5 panel test and implement a simpler 4 panel drug test. Alternatively, employers can add any number of drug classes to their testing panels. Some employers require a total toxicology screen, which can detect more than 20 drugs and/or drug metabolites.
Ultimately, it’s about making sure an employee screening process matches the needs of the organization.
Posted in E-Verify
Fourteen percent of the approximately 600,000 employers using E-Verify are located in Georgia, which ranks highest of all 50 states in the program’s usage, according to new statistics released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
While the program is voluntary for most employers on the federal level, many states (including Georgia) have enacted state laws requiring employers to enroll.
After Georgia (82,046), the states with the highest numbers of E-Verify users as of March 31 are Arizona (49,876), California (48,700), Alabama (43,944), Missouri (41,159) and South Carolina (40,211). Alabama, Arizona and South Carolina mandate E-Verify for all employers.
The states with the least amount of users are Vermont (431), Wyoming (768), North Dakota (841), South Dakota (845) and Maine (866). Notably, California actually prohibits cities and counties from imposing any kind of E-Verify mandate.
The E-Verify program compares information obtained from an employee’s Form I-9 to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility. If you have any questions around how E-Verify should be implemented in your state and how it may affect your business, contact our team today.
Posted in social media background checks
Social media background checks have received another significant boost of approval by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
Under Security Executive Agent Directive 5 - released last week – agencies may “collect, use and retain” an applicant’s “publicly available social media information” during the background investigation process, as long as it relates to determining whether or not an applicant should have access to classified information or a sensitive position.
Bill Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center at ODNI, said the policy is a collaborative effort to “strike the right balance” between obtaining publicly available information in an ever-changing internet age, without invading privacy or stepping on civil liberties.
“From 2008 until two years ago, the ‘social media’ definition has changed dramatically and will continue to change,” Evanina said.
“To provide the agencies who conduct these investigations the maximum flexibility to go about utilizing social media as part of this process was paramount in this effort.”
ODNI’s guidance was met with varying degrees of interest and support from the oversight committee. Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), for example, called the guidance a “big step forward fixing such a glaring lapse in our security clearance process.”
In the guidance:
- Agencies can’t ask or require an applicant to “take any action that would disclose non-publicly available social media information”
- Agencies cannot create accounts or use existing social media accounts to connect with an applicant online, or interact with a third party in order to bypass non-public information
- Agencies must verify to the best of their ability any information collected that could disqualify a candidate
- Applicants are not required — nor can agencies ask — to provide passwords or log into a private account
Social media background checks have been a hot topic of discussion in recent years, given that it can be incredibly difficult to avoid accessing personal information which cannot legally be used to deny employment.
In 2011, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provided guidance for the conversation around social media background checks in the private sector, when they allowed companies to compile seven years’ worth of publicly-available files and data from social networks and similar websites.
The Office of Personnel Management, which oversees about 95 percent of federal background checks, will use this new guidance as it works to stand up by October a pilot program to conduct automated social media site searches as part of the security clearance process.
Posted in ban the box, pre-employment background checks
Vermont has become the latest state to ‘ban the box‘, with bill H.261 removing questions about criminal records from initial job applications for both state and private employment.
The new ‘ban the box’ law will take effect on July 1, 2017, and prohibits employers from asking questions about prior criminal convictions on an initial job application
Employers will still be allowed to ask questions in later stages of the hiring process and the law provides exemptions for certain positions where a criminal conviction would automatically disqualify an applicant due to state or federal law.
“Too many Vermonters with criminal records are unable to successfully re-enter their communities due to lack of employment. Banning the box is all about breaking down barriers and giving those Vermonters who have paid their debt to society a fair chance at finding a good job,” Gov. Shumlin said. “Nobody wins when Vermonters are trapped in a cycle of unemployment and incarceration.”
The National Employment Law Project estimates 70 million American adults have arrests or convictions in their past that can make it difficult for them to obtain employment.
A release on the Governor’s website states that Gov. Shumlin has made creating a fairer, more effective criminal justice system a priority. One example includes the War on Recidivism and his expansion of Vermont’s expungement laws, which have helped reduce Vermont’s prison population to its lowest level since the early 2000s.
Vermont is the seventh state to implement a state-wide ban the box law that applies to both state and private employers while 21 states have enacted some form of ban the box legislation.
Posted in employment checks
Connecticut Better Business Bureau has a warning for college graduates looking for a job: Be very careful.
According to the Better Business Bureau website, criminals are targeting students with fake job offers through emails sent to their college accounts.
The employment scam criminals deceive their victims using four basic tactics:
- Asking for bank account information for direct deposit of a paycheck
- Requiring a Social Security Number and other personal information to “process paperwork”
- Requesting payment up front, supposedly for a background check, drug testing, and training
- Payment is only accepted through non-traceable methods
In recognition of this recent scam, Connecticut Better Business Bureau has some tips to protect yourself:
Make sure it is real – Research the company’s telephone number and website, rather than using information provided in the email or over the telephone. Contact the business directly to verify whether there is an opening.
Ask for specifics – If a caller contacts you, ask the name of the company he or she claims to represent.
Watch out for on-the-spot job offers – Businesses don’t hire by telephone without a face to face meeting. Only provide personal information once you receive a written letter of employment.
Be realistic – When a job ad says no experience is required, offers easy hours and generous income with minimal work, that’s a major red flag.
As the adage goes – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Students and job seekers can find additional resources and tips at bbb.org.
Posted in background checks, employment checks
The U.S. Commerce Department has agreed to pay $15 million to settle a class-action suit, brought following the hiring process for the 2010 Census Bureau.
Back in 2010, the Census Bureau sought to fill more than 1 million temporary positions. The hiring process required a criminal background check, where biographical information of applicants was run through the FBI database. If an arrest record displayed, the Census sent a letter to the applicant asking them to provide “official court documentation on any and all arrest(s) and/or conviction(s)” within 30 days. Those applicants who disputed that they had an arrest record were advised to submit a set of fingerprints.
The plaintiffs sued in 2010, alleging that those procedures violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 .
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers may violate Title VII if their policies have a disproportionate adverse impact based on race, national origin or other protected categories, and if employers cannot demonstrate the business necessity of such policies.
In fact, in 2012, the EEOC provided guidance on the use of criminal history in hiring calls for a process of individualized assessment, where rejected candidates can make their case to demonstrate facts about the offense or about their lives that shows they should be given a second chance.
In addition to paying $15 million, the Census Bureau is also required to hire industrial-organizational psychologists to design new criteria for criminal background checks for the 2020 census to limit disparate impact on job applicants.
The decision could have consequences for an estimated 450,000 African Americans and Latinos who may have been passed over for jobs because of the Census Bureau’s background-check recruiting practices.
Posted in employment, The Employment Situation
According to ‘The Employment Situation’ news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy added 160,000 jobs in April while the unemployment rate was virtually unchanged at 5.0 percent.
The BLS report found that the number of unemployed persons decreased slightly to 7.9 million (from 8 million in March). The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined by 150,000 to 2.1 million in April. These individuals accounted for 25.7 percent of the unemployed.
Over the prior 12 months, employment growth has averaged at 232,000 jobs per month.
The change in employment for February was revised from 245,000 jobs added to 233,000 jobs added and the change for March was revised from 215,000 jobs added to 208,000 jobs added. With these revisions, employment gains in February and March were 19,000 less than previously reported.
Posted in ban the box
Last week, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a proposed rule that would ensure that applicants with a criminal history have a fair shot to compete for Federal jobs.
The rule would effectively “ban the box” for a significant number of positions in the Federal Government by delaying the point in the hiring process when agencies can inquire about an applicant’s criminal history until a conditional offer is made. This change prevents candidates from being eliminated before they have a chance to demonstrate their qualifications.
The intended effect of this proposal is to better ensure that applicants from all segments of society, including those with prior criminal histories, receive a fair chance to gain Federal employment. It builds on the current practice of many agencies, which already choose to collect information on criminal history at late stages of the hiring process.
The new rule, however, would take the important step to codify, formalize, and expand this best practice.
According to OPM.gov, this proposal “sends a clear signal to applicants, agencies, and employers across the country that the Federal Government is committed to making it easier for those who have paid their debts to society to successfully return to their communities, while staying true to the merit system principles that govern our civil service by promoting fair competition between applicants from all segments of society”.
For more information on how ban the box legislation could affect your business, contact our team today.
Posted in Department of Labor
Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded $112 million to 50 state and territorial workforce agencies to operate reemployment services and eligibility assessments programs for those receiving unemployment insurance benefits.
Estimates based on the budgets in the past 10 years show that the program has reduced the use of UI services by approximately one-and-a-half weeks, saving on average $3 for every dollar spent in costs.
“As our nation continues to enjoy a period of sustained economic growth, with 14.4 million jobs added in the past 73 months, the U.S. Department of Labor remains focused on modernizing and improving the UI system, and helping those who are still looking for jobs to support themselves and their families,” said Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Portia Wu.
“(These) grant awards will ensure unemployed individuals have a wide array of workforce services available and can continue to be eligible for UI services.”
The funds will be used to connect participants with in-person assessments and re-employment services through their local their local American Job Centers including developing an individual re-employment plan; providing relevant and timely labor market information, identifying job skills and employment prospects; and reviewing claimant’s continued eligibility for UI benefits.
You can see how this funding has been allocated between each state on the Department of Labor’s website here.
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