As a response to a sexual abuse scandal that rocked one of the countries most prominent Olympic sports, USA Swimming has decided to expand background checks, approving new measures intended to ensure the safety and protection of their swimmers.
All non-athlete members of USA Swimming must now pass a criminal background check – a move that will extend to around 30,000 individuals. Also, anyone who interacts with swimmers must become a member of USA Swimming. The background screenings will be required every two years, and will go in effect January 1st 2011.
Coaches are also now prohibited from giving rub-downs to swimmers, even if they are licensed massage therapists, and must have the permission of parents or guardians before they can visit the swimmer at home.
It is re-assuring to see such a prominent organization take these steps, even though it took a sexual abuse scandal in order for it to do so. As the saying goes, “better late than never”, and hopefully this new legislation will protect swimmers from potential sexual abuse happening again.
It would be good to see other nationwide sports groups following a similar path – perhaps to see some changes in their pre-employment background screening process before something bad happens, and not after.
An area conference brought to light issues over child care and the best practices that ought to be remembered, but often aren’t. More than 70 child care facilities attended the conference in Bloomington, IL to discuss various aspects of child care – from background checks and responsibility to tax preparation and record keeping.
One of the main discussions was that of liability insurance. Many parents don’t know that if a child is hurt at an unlicensed child care home without liability insurance, “it’s up to you”, said Tom Copeland, a guest speaker at the event. It’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure that this kind of situation does not arise, but ultimately, it’s going to be down to the parents to make the correct checks.
Another topic was just what goes on when you drop your child off at a day care center or leave them with a babysitter. Some people think that caregivers just sit around and watch the kids, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Dawn Wickenhauser has provided child care for about a decade, and offers breakfast, does calender time, teaches her students basics about letters and numbers, and organizes outings. It’s an important role, and should be considered as such.
The most important part of sorting out child care for your children is, however, the background screening checks you complete before leaving your child with a stranger. Ensure that you get this right, otherwise there may be some awful consequences further down the line.
Background checks proved their worth in Illinois last week, with a simple check resulting in the capture of an alleged confidence man who had been living under a false name. Kopyskinski tells us that “a woman purchased a hot dog at the Holiday Star Theatre…with a credit card”. Upon learning there were no hot dogs left she asked for a refund, “and the encounter she subsequently had led her to call the police”.
The police could find no information on the apparent owner of the theatre, Kenny Yochelson, so investigated further. These checks led to the conclusion that Kenny Yochelson was, in fact, Kenneth W. Arron. Another background check revealed that Arron has an extensive criminal history, including felony convictions in Illinois, Arizona and Ohio.
After an investigation, Arron was charged with one count of State benefits fraud and one count of forgery related to the alleged fraudulent business license application. He was also charged with conducting an unlicensed raffle, driving while license was suspended, and operation of an uninsured motor vehicle. It is good to be able to provide an example of how background checks do work, and hopefully such a success story will lead to further background investigations by employers, organizations and public safety officials.
As mentioned previously in this blog, authorities at the highest level fail to adhere to the correct background check rules for pre-employment checks. Yet again we have another example of police departments not practicing background screening as they should, leading to officers being employed even if they have prior disciplinary problems or questionable backgrounds.
Dallas News claims that “Deputies made statements or omissions on their job applications that were, at minimum, misleading”, adding that “some government agencies…enter into settlement agreements that help problem officers hide their pasts”.
One example would be Jamie Powell, who was terminated as a Dallas County sheriff’s jailer after seven months. Background checks revealed that he had been untruthful during an internal affairs investigation while he was an Arlington police officer. Such mistakes should not be made in any organization, let alone a public services department. A lack of background screening and reference checks leads to individuals being employed who simply are not up to the challenge, especially in such a difficult profession as the police force.
If you have a business, be sure to do background checks on potential employees, and save yourself problems further down the line.
Is is ok to lie on a resume? Will the employer really do the necessary pre-employment background screening to find out every little detail of what you’ve written? A little white lie never hurt anybody…right?
Just ask George O’Leary, the Notre Dame football coach who was forced to resign five days after being hired when lies about his academic and athletic background came to light.
That may be a high profile example, but in these difficult economic times, people are doing all they can to get a job; hence, companies are doing all the background checks necessary to ensure they hire the best person for the job. According to the 2009 Screening Index released by ADP, a human-resources and payroll provider, 46% of employment, education or credential reference checks conducted in 2008 revealed discrepancies.
Now we’re not just talking about making the most of your positive attributes. We’re talking about an outright over-the-top exaggeration. For example, a claim that you were responsible for a successful project or integral to a specific task, when you weren’t. This would be a lie, plain and simple. Of course, you want to exaggerate your best attributes and successes, but you can’t pride yourself on something that didn’t actually happen. Background checks will provide the truth to the employer, and you’re chances of being hired are gone.
Be honest with your potential employers. Make sure they know what you’re good at and what you’re proud of, but don’t create fictional claims to try and increase your chances. Background screening processes are very detailed these days, you’ll get found out in the end.
There are some great ideas on the Mind Your Business news page relating to hints and tips for employers when performing pre-employment background checks, which I thought I would share on the blog. Here are 6 tips from the top on the hiring process:
- Before sending applications to MYB, please review the application to ensure all information is complete. By complete, we mean that employers phone numbers and address information is supplied. At minimum, please make sure the city and state are noted. Try to imagine searching for information about a company and not even knowing what state to look in.
- If your applicant reports that the employment was temporary, please ask for the agency the applicant was employed through. If the applicant was an Independent Contractor, we must have the name of a contact person as many companies do not maintain records of these contractors.
- Many companies maintain employment records for a set number of years based on state employment laws or company policy. If your applicant worked somewhere ten years ago, or more, please make sure the name of the supervisor or manager is noted on the application. This person may be able to verify this employment based on “memory”.
- If the applicant is aware that a former employer has closed or has merged with another company, please ask the applicant to provide this information.
- If the applicant received a college degree at an international school, please supply a copy of the degree for verification. We deal with institutions in other countries, but with fraud so rampant these days, they are very hesitant to cooperate.
- Please send a copy of the application and/or resume, even if you do your own data entry. Sometimes information is transposed or misspelled and these documents serve as a source for further research.
So there you have! Tips from the top on the hiring process and how to make sure your background checks can be completed promptly and effectively!
Illinois is soon to be receiving a federal grant to improve it’s participation in a national system of background checks for would-be gun owners. This is another big step towards ensuring that guns do not get into the hands of the wrong people, and to secure the safety of the public.
Federal law currently prohibits gun ownership to people who have judged dangerously mentally ill by a court, and to those who have been committed to a mental health institution. The $1.2 million grant will help Illinois automate how it will submit it’s mental health records to a national background check system.
This seems to be a move in the right direction by the authorities, and the state paying for the screening checks rather than the buyers goes a long way in maintaining the validity of these screening processes. With seven other states also receiving the grant, hopefully this will have some effect.
As mentioned in this blog last month, some universities are taking some big steps in ensuring the safety of their students. At some schools, applicants no longer simply need the right grades to get into their chosen school, but they need a clean background check.
Cyrus Behzadi talks in the Daily Trojan about how schools may now perform background checks on their prospective applicants. While 64% require applicants to disclose their criminal records, currently 4% perform the checks themselves. With the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina two schools which have started this new form of recruitment, it seems to be a trend which is quite clearly on the rise. “At first glance,” Behzadi claims, “this might seem to be an invasion of privacy. It would appear that colleges do not give people with a checkered past a chance.” Nonetheless, many feel it is time to start protecting the innocent and not the guilty – it is the safety of the students and employees at the colleges which is important. Background screening is a key way of maintaining the safety and security of those on campus.
As this trends continues, there is sure to be a lot of debate as to where the line is drawn – will some criminal records be minor enough to be ignored? Do we give people a second chance? If so, who?
We should surely provide all members of society with the chance to be educated and to attend a state-funded school, which is where the issues may stem from. However, what is important to remember is that the safety of an innocent student is incomparable to the forgiveness of another. Those who have clean checks should surely be accepted above those who don’t. It’s going to be an incredibly difficult balance to find, and many will be watching closely as change begins to develop.
The two terms ‘global’ and ‘international ‘are similar in most circumstances, but it can get a bit confusing when it comes down to background screening and pre-employment checks. As the world continues to become all the more global, with both legal and illegal migrant workers in the US increasing each year, such a distinction will become important knowledge. Hopefully this explanation will help you out…
Global Screening refers to a candidate who is being screened and employed outside of the United States, as laws vary between different countries. A background check in Asia or South America would be very different to that in the US, and this type of screening will allow for that.
International Screening is when a candidate will be employed within the US, but some of the information needed for the check requires information from another country. This may be significant for a worker who was born and lived in another country prior to the United States.
As background checks get all the more important, Mind Your Business will be here to take you step by step through the key developments. If you have any more questions about background screening law and legislation, simply leave a comment and we’ll get back to you!
Mind Your Business works hard to seek out and inform you of the top news on background checks, and why they’re so important. There are stories of sexual abuse, company fraud and new legislation, but here are my three top stories which should make you understand the significance of background screening in today’s society:
- Officials in Illinois bungling a background check, which led to an inappropriate hire. It’s important to run background checks in any industry, yet particularly important when it comes to public safety, which is why it makes my list.
- It’s these kinds of statistics which exemplify how you can protect your business, family or even your self through performing the right background screening process.
- Another example of vulnerable individuals being put at risk by irresponsible individuals if the correct checks are not performed. Cutting corners to save money backfired for this nursing home in Kentucky – don’t let the same thing happen to you.
Unlike many stories, these situations could all have been stopped and people been protected had a simple check been performed. Get it right from the start and you won’t regret it later on.
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