Posted in workplace safety
According to the 2017 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, serious, nonfatal workplace injuries amounted to nearly $60 billion in direct U.S. workers compensation costs.
This translates into more than a billion dollars a week spent by businesses on these injuries.
Given the magnitude of these costs, it’s troubling that such a large number of employers fail to create and implement holistic safety measures.
How do employers instill a proper safety culture?
- ensuring all employees believe in a safe and healthy workplace
- offering ongoing training (not just basic training upon employment)
- creating an environment that allows failure (when failure is punished, employees are more likely to hide their mistakes. Creating an environment that allows for failure allows you to learn from mistakes, preventing the same mistakes happening time and again)
- having meaningful and measurable safety and health improvement goals
This is the seventeenth year that the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety has produced the index. The researchers use the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Academy of Social Insurance along with Liberty Mutual’s own data.
Posted in employment
The hiring outlook for 2017 is the best the U.S. has seen in a decade, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey. Delving into the data, 40% of employers say they will hire full-time, permanent employees this year, while 3 in 10 intend to hire part-time, permanent staff.
The national survey, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from November 16 to December 6, 2016, also indicates five additional, key trends:
- Increased wages
- Emphasis on candidates’ soft skills
- Reaching out to candidates via texts to invite them for job interviews
- Expectations for social media savviness
- Investment in employee training
“Three in four employers reported that they are in a better financial position than they were a year ago, which is instilling more confidence in adding people to their payrolls,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation.
“Following a divisive election season, employers are entering the New Year with a watchful, yet optimistic approach. One of the key challenges for employers will be bridging the talent gaps within their own organizations by either offering better wages or by helping to reskill and upskill workers.”
Take a look at the full press release and the useful infographic, highlighting the report data and 2017 expectations.
Posted in employment
According to ‘The Employment Situation‘ report released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the United States remained steady at 4.7%, while the economy added 156,000 jobs, in December.
The report revealed the number of unemployed persons in the U.S. increased to 7.5 million in December of 2016. Overall, job growth totaled 2.2 million in 2016, less than the increase of 2.7 million in 2015.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.4 percent), adult women (4.3 percent), teenagers (14.7 percent), Whites (4.3 percent), Blacks (7.8 percent), Asians (2.6 percent), and Hispanics (5.9 percent) showed little change in December.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.8 million in December and accounted for 24.2 percent of the unemployed. In 2016, the number of long-term unemployed declined by 263,000.
The labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, changed little in December and was unchanged over the year. In December, the employment-population ratio was 59.7 percent for the third consecutive month; this measure showed little change, on net, in 2016.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised down from +142,000 to +135,000, and the change for November was revised up from +178,000 to +204,000. With these revisions, employment gains in October and November were 19,000 higher than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 165,000 per month
Posted in ban the box, employment checks
As of January 1st, it is now unlawful to include an inquiry about arrests or criminal convictions on an initial job application in Connecticut. The state is the latest in a long line to ‘ban the box‘.
Although the state’s ban-the-box law generally prohibits employers from inquiring into applicants’ prior arrests, criminal charges, or convictions on initial employment applications, there are exceptions to this restriction. An employer may inquire about an applicant’s prior arrests, criminal charges, or convictions on an employment application form if:
- the employer is required to do so by an applicable state or federal law
- a security or fidelity bond or an equivalent bond is required for the position
Under the law, employers may still inquire into applicants’ criminal histories, but such background inquiries must occur after an employment application has been completed, e.g., during an interview.
The law further establishes a “fair chance employment task force” to study issues related to the hiring process, including the employment opportunities available to individuals with criminal histories.
Eric Gjede of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association welcomes the legislation: “It still allows employers to protect employees, but it gives people a chance to get into the business and explain a little bit about themselves and not just be rejected at the get-go”.
Ban the box has been controversial in some jurisdictions where it’s been enacted, but the drafters of the law say Connecticut has tried to take account of best practice around the country.
Posted in background screening, Mind Your Business Inc, MYB, year in review
As we begin 2017, we’d like to review — as always — the previous year, both for us here at MYB and also the employment screening industry overall.
The ban-the-box movement continued to spread, as more cities and states passed legislation preventing employers from discriminating against job applicants with criminal records. 24 states and over 150 cities and counties have now implemented such legislation.
The White House also unveiled a voluntary initiative to encourage employers to reduce or eliminate barriers to employment for persons with criminal histories: the Fair Chance Business Pledge. Two rounds of signatories have committed to the pledge, including industry leaders such as Facebook, Google, and Walmart.
Marijuana legalization was a hot topic in 2016, with five states voting in this year’s general election on whether to legalize the drug for recreational use.
With California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusettes voting yes (only Nevada voted no), there are now eight states that have fully legalized cannabis with another 22 now allowing marijuana for medical purposes.
Technology became a leading conversation in the employment screening space, as companies such as Uber and Lyft found themselves in regular battles with local government agencies.
Ride-sharing companies paid tens of millions of dollars to settle lawsuits over driver background check policies and processes.
Mind Your Business, Inc.
MYB has continued to advance our role as a leading background screening company in both the federal and commercial space.
Most recently, we secured a new contract continuing our relationship with PBGC, continuing our expansion into EEO investigations for federal organizations.
We’ve also expanded our team and continued to play a critical role for clients in the retail, transportation, healthcare, and nonprofit industries.
What a year! We look forward to seeing what 2017 will bring.
Posted in EEO, Mind Your Business Inc, MYB
We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded an incredible new contract, to complete EEO investigations for the Pensions Benefit Guaranty Corp (PBGC).
This new award will proceed for a minimum of five (5) years and see our team responsible for EEO counseling, mediation, investigation services, and Reports of Investigation (ROI) on the facts developed in alleged EEO Discrimination complaints.
MYB has worked with PBGC for the last five years on similar work.
Back in 2011, with the economy still suffering and companies cutting their budgets for background screening, Karen Caruso, CEO/President and founder of MYB, elected to diversify as a means to grow the business. This led to our expansion into providing EEO investigations to federal agencies.
Since then, with our GSA Schedule and 8(a) status, we have been rapidly expanding our presence in this space. We currently provide, or have previously provided, services for multiple federal agencies, including OPM, IMLS, PBGC, BIA, BLM, Army, DOI, and DOE.
GSA Schedules are fast, easy, and effective contracting vehicles for both federal customers and vendors. GSA establishes long-term government-wide contracts with commercial companies to provide access to millions of commercial products and services at volume discount pricing.
We received certification as a Participant in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 8(a) Business Development Program several years ago. It is through this certification that we are able to compete for these contracts as well as receive some sole source set-aside contracts.
We are incredibly excited to be working in partnership with the Pensions Benefit Guaranty Corp and look forward to our continued growth in the federal space.
Posted in Diploma Mills
According to a release by the Department of Justice, the executive of a Pakistani software company – Axact – has been charged for his part in an alleged $140 million “fake-diploma mill” scheme.
The complaint alleges that Umair Hamid, 30, and his co-conspirators made false and fraudulent representations to consumers on diploma mill websites and over the phone to trick them into enrolling in purported colleges and high schools, and issued fake diplomas upon receipt of upfront fees from consumers.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, while promising the rewards of a higher education, Umair Hamid was actually just peddling diplomas and certifications from fake schools. Hamid allegedly took hefty upfront fees from young men and women seeking an education, leaving them with little more than useless pieces of paper.”
In or about May 2015, Axact was shut down by Pakistani law enforcement, and certain individuals associated with Axact were prosecuted in Pakistan. Nevertheless, after May 2015, Hamid resumed his fraudulent business of selling fake diplomas to consumers in the United States for upfront fees based upon false and fraudulent representations.
Read more about the complaint directly on the DOJ website.
As reported several times on this blog before, he diploma mill problem is a significant one. A 2011 report from Verifile Accredibase defined diploma mill providers as “mostly online entities that offer substandard or bogus degrees in exchange for payment and not much else” and suggested a 20% year-over-year growth of mills in the US.
This complaint emphasizes the need to include education verification as a core component of your background screening investigations. Do you?
Posted in ban the box
San Antonio has joined a growing list of cities and states to remove questions about previous criminal history from job applications.
The policy – already adopted in 150 cities and counties and 24 states across the country – requires employers to wait until job applicants have been interviewed before requiring them to declare any criminal history.
“I think from a long-term perspective what we’re trying to do here (in) this city is to create more options for people who have already served their time but also set an example for private employers,” Mayor Ivy Taylor, who endorsed the policy early on, told the Rivard Report.
Earlier this year, 19 global businesses, such as Starbucks, Uber, and Google voluntarily implemented fair-chance hiring practices, as part of the Fair Chance Business Pledge. Smaller businesses, cities, and states have quickly been following suit.
Over the past decade, pressure to remove criminal histories from job applications has increased as the nation’s prison system has expanded. Though the U.S. has less than 5% of the world’s population, its citizens make up nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners – more than any other nation, including China, a non-democratic country with four times our population.
Lori Steward, San Antonio’s director of Human Resources, said as of two years ago applicants’ criminal histories have been kept confidential from hiring supervisors, and background checks are only performed after a conditional offer has been made. Banning the box altogether, she said, would avoid discouraging potential candidates from applying for jobs.
Posted in pre-employment background checks
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that the newest version of the Form I-9 is now available. Get it here.
Employers may continue using the current version of Form I-9 with a revision date of 03/08/2013 until Jan. 21, 2017. After Jan. 21, all previous versions of the Form I-9 will be invalid.
Among the changes in the new version, Section 1 asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used,” and streamlines certification for certain foreign nationals.
Other changes include:
- The addition of prompts to ensure information is entered correctly.
- The ability to enter multiple preparers and translators.
- A dedicated area for including additional information rather than having to add it in the margins.
- A supplemental page for the preparer/translator.
- The instructions have been separated from the form, in line with other USCIS forms, and include specific instructions for completing each field.
The revised Form I-9 is also easier to complete on a computer. Enhancements include drop-down lists and calendars for filling in dates, on-screen instructions for each field, easy access to the full instructions, and an option to clear the form and start over. When the employer prints the completed form, a quick response (QR) code is automatically generated, which can be read by most QR readers.
What is Form I-9?
Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States.
Posted in ban the box, employment checks
The Los Angeles City Council recently passed a ‘Fair Chance Initiative’ that will ‘ban the box’ from job applications. It will also delay a pre-employment background check until a conditional offer of employment has been made.
The new law applies to all contractors doing business with the City, as well as any private business with more than ten employees. It takes effect January 1, 2017.
“By passing the Fair Chance Ordinance we are knocking down one of the most pressing obstacles faced by formerly incarcerated and convicted people,” said AmberRose Howard, a community organizer with All Of Us Or None.
“We are honoring the human dignity of those who have been disenfranchised for far too long by acknowledging that everyone deserves a fair chance at opportunities that will help enhance our lives. The city of Los Angeles is demonstrating what liberty and justice for all truly looks like.”
In a major push to reform federal employment policies last year, President Obama signed an Executive Order that would prohibit federal employers from asking job applicants questions about potential criminal records until significantly later in the hiring process.
This legislation in LA is just one of many over the last few years, with ‘ban the box’ spreading far and wide across the country. In fact, ‘ban the box’ policies have now been implemented in some form in 24 states.
Take a look at our full reporting on the ban the box movement.
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