Posted in background screening, pre-employment background checks
A California man has sued a background check company that incorrectly listed him as a sex offender to a prospective employer and landlord, costing him both a job and a place to live during an applicant background check.
The reason for the incorrect information? A man with a similar, but not identical, name had three counts of sexual misconduct on his record, and the company, National Tenant Network, conducted the applicant background check on the wrong person. Of course, this type of error is common among people with similar names, and we’ve posted about the pitfalls before.
How can you ensure that — when you’re conducting an applicant background check — you’re getting the correct information, even among names that are extremely common?
1) Hire a reputable background check company.
Instant online background checks may seem like a sweet deal, but computers are not able to differentiate information between two people with the same names. When you hire a background check service, you may not get your report in five minutes or less, but your chances of getting sued for misinformation decrease dramatically. Make sure the National Association of Professional Background Screeners has certified the company or service you choose. Mind Your Business is certified by NAPBS and the Better Business Bureau, as well as other certifying agencies.
2) Acquire the proper identifying information.
Simply a first and last name may not be enough to conduct a thorough applicant background check; just imagine the nightmare it would be to track down the correct John Smith or Sarah Jones! To receive the best information possible, you should — at minimum — be able to provide a full name, including middle name, maiden name or any suffixes, for any potential candidates. Even better would be a social security number or other identification number, such as driver’s license number; these numbers are often requested on job applications. A date of birth or previous address may be helpful as well, if you are not able to use license or social security numbers. Contact the background screening company you have selected to see what information is most useful to them during an applicant background check.
Want to make sure you’re screening the right person? Get started with Mind Your Business’ professional background screening services, and check out the right and wrong ways to go about screening employees.
Posted in background screening, education checks, false resume information, pre-employment background screening
It can be a huge waste of time and money for employers to hire someone only to have to fire that person months or even years later when it’s discovered that person had lied on a resume or job application about their field of study, level of education or past employment. Recently, Massachusetts police fired a state drug lab analyst who did not have the chemistry degree her resume claimed. The department says that she underwent a pre-employment background screening, but the falsification was not caught. Which begs the question, if a background check doesn’t turn up anything, how can you be sure that the people you hire have the qualifications you require?
That may be the wrong question to ask. Instead, we need to consider what it means when a company or organization says they’re going to run a background check.
1) We’re going to do this all ourselves.
It’s easy to miss errors and intentional falsehoods when busy managers are required to do all the digging on their own. Sometimes, when a business is going to do a background check on a potential employee, they really just mean that they’re going to do a reference check and perhaps check for a criminal history. Resume fraud can be avoided if you have the right tools, which are not always at a manager’s disposal.
2) We’re going to use an instant screening website.
Using an online service to receive an instant report may turn up some information, but it is possible the service will not catch everything. Things such as education and experience may be overlooked because it’s a computer doing the work and not a person. In addition, there are many different types of checks that could have been done through one of these services, such as a credit check or criminal history report, which would not have revealed the education flub.
3) We’re going to hire a background screening service to make sure we’ve got an accurate picture of your past.
If the organization had hired a reputable pre-employment background screening service, it’s likely that the education error would have been caught. An employment verification service takes care not to run just basic checks, but to dig into the contents of a candidate’s history as well. Hiring the right people can make or break your business, and it’s important that applicants are thoroughly screened so you can make the best hiring decisions.
To learn more about Mind Your Business’ pre-employment screening services, send us a message!
Posted in background check, background screening, criminal background check
Both the federal government and state lawmakers have been working to regulate mental health requirements and background screen requirements for those who wish to purchase firearms. These requirements are expected to protect citizens from injuring themselves or others by preventing the mentally ill or those who have been charged or convicted of a crime from acquiring guns.
President Obama introduced two such regulations since the beginning of January. These proposed regulations will refine the verbiage of existing laws that prevent the mentally ill from possessing guns. Additionally, they will remove obstacles that prevent states from offering up full disclosure on those with mental illnesses or a criminal history during a background screen.
For the latter, one such obstacle is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which prevents doctors and insurance providers from disclosing citizens’ private medical documents without written consent. However, HIPAA does not prevent states from providing mental health information to the FBI for the purpose of preventing firearm purchases. However, most states have erred on the side of personal privacy in submitting incomplete records, or no records at all, to the FBI. The new language will clarify what HIPAA and the states are allowed to share with federal agencies.
Opponents of these regulations include mental health advocates, who argue that the mental health regulations are so broad that they may serve to stigmatize those who receive involuntary outpatient mental health services, such as therapy or clinical evaluations via outpatient treatment. Those who are involuntarily committed to an inpatient mental health facility or are declared mentally ill by a court are already prohibited from owning firearms.
Meanwhile, 11 states are working to close a loophole that allows people to purchase guns via the Internet or a gun show without undergoing a background screen. As it stands, those with criminal records could purchase firearms without disclosing their history. Missouri Representative Stacey Newman has previously introduced a bill to expand background screen coverage for those who wish to purchase guns, and similar legislation has already passed in other states, preventing weapons from getting into the hands of convicted or charged criminals. States like Colorado and Virginia have already seen an increase in the number of rejected transactions due to increased background checking, preventing deadly weapons from falling into the hands of the mentally ill or convicted.
To learn more about these issues, check out the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence’s document on guns, public health and mental illness.
Posted in background screening, pre-employment background screening
You’re thinking about hiring a pre-employment screening company, but you’re asking yourself – as do most business owners or HR professionals who haven’t ventured down this route before – what exactly do pre-employment screening companies do?
First off, let’s highlight the importance of pre-employment screening. There are too many risks, both legally and financially, for business owners to forgo background screening in the hiring process, including lawsuits, employee drug use, employee theft and violence in the workplace.
Almost 30% of businesses that fail could have been saved with effective employment screening. Keep that in mind as you’re considering your hiring programs.
So what do we do?
Most employment screening companies offer similar services, including ourselves, so here’s a quick list of the type of services you can expect:
Criminal Record Checks
Viewing the criminal history of your potential job candidates is vital. This allows you to see what type of criminal background they have, if any. There is, however, a movement spreading right now which means businesses must tread a very thin line here in order to stay within the law. Be careful.
Do you think that verifying credit history is important for the hiring process? Some employers would say yes, while others may say no. And honestly, it depends on the role you are hiring for. This type of discretion is a great example on when professional assistance comes in handy.
Motor Vehicle Report
For jobs that will require their employees to be on the road, an MVR is key. It helps ensure that the people you hire are safe drivers and ensures the safety of others on the road. It also reduces drastically the potential that you, as the employer, will be held liable should an accident occur.
With drugs being so prevalent in this day and age, performing drug screening prior to hiring new employees is of great importance. Keeping your workplace drug free promotes a healthier environment, less absenteeism and higher productivity, and reduces your risk of lawsuits.
Pre-employment screening companies will also offer a variety of other services, including:
- Social Security Number Verification
- Education Verification
- Reference Checks
- License Verification
- And more
If you haven’t turned to the services offered by pre-employment screening companies, then you may be putting the future of your business in jeopardy. Let us help you protect your business; get started by contacting us today!
Posted in background screening, employment checks, Mind Your Business
As has become a tradition on this blog, as we come to the end of another year we’d like to take the opportunity to look back on the last twelve months – both for Mind Your Business, Inc. and for the employment screening industry as a whole.
There have been some significant political and economic issues in 2013 that have affected employment – and the employment screening industry – heavily, in addition to a few key milestones for us a business.
We can’t look back at 2013 without touching on the government shutdown. The failure by Congress to prevent the shutdown meant that hiring took a serious hit in the US during that period, partly due to the fact that employers were unable to make use of the E-Verify system.
Later in the year we then saw new security enhancements implemented to help E-Verify deter employee fraud, and protect employers from hiring risks. This represents a significant step forward nationwide.
The EEOC found itself in the news time and again this year, with nine Attorney Generals taking action against the new strategic enforcement plan (and the lawsuits rendered by the EEOC as a consequence) implemented by the EEOC earlier this year. Whether the EEOC crossed the line with their strict regulations is yet to be decided, with litigation brought by the State of Texas yet to come to a conclusion.
Finally, one of the most significant industry trends we’ve seen in 2013 is the “ban the box” movement spreading across the country. Ten states and over fifty cities and counties across the United States have approved legislation the bans the box on job applications, despite a wave of critics as to how this could put employers at risk. We expect this trend to continue in 2014.
Mind Your Business, Inc.
Most excitingly for us this year, we were accepted as a participant in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 8(a) Business Development Program. This was – and still is – huge news, and we’re so excited to see the progress that will be made over the nine year program.
We also launched a new product – EEO investigations – to commercial clients, having rolled this out successfully to government agencies in 2012.
As usual, MYB team members were in attendance at various tradeshows and industry events throughout the year, pursuing information and relationships that we know will aid progression and positive development for both MYB and our clients.
Last, but certainly not least, we wanted to highlight our work in the community this year. It’s so incredibly important to us, as a business, to give back to the community that has provided our team members so much over the years.
From sponsorship of the Boys and Girls Club of Henderson County, to participation in Relay for Life, to our partnership with the Blue Ridge Humane Society, it’s an honor and a privilege to be a part of the local community in this way.
All in all, despite some concerning and turbulent industry trends, 2013 has been a fantastic year for us here at MYB. We can’t wait to get started in 2014, and look forward to working with current and new customers as the new year rolls in.
Wishing you all the best, and a prosperous 2014!
Posted in background checks, background screening
As the holiday shopping season kicks into full gear, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) reminds employers that properly screening job applicants is more important than ever in their latest press release.
“Seasonal workers are an absolute necessity to handle the increased volume of customer transactions during the holidays, but employers need to make sure they’re not compromising their hiring process in the rush to find workers to meet the increased demand,” said Judy Gootkind, NAPBS Chair. “Consumers willingly share their personal information in increasingly crowded stores and restaurants, and it’s an employer’s responsibility to make sure their workers are both skilled and trustworthy. Now is not the time to cut corners when faced with time sensitive hiring decisions.”
“For our part, NAPBS has developed educational programs and training aimed at helping our members to better serve their clients and to maintain the highest standards of professional excellence, accuracy and legal compliance, including a comprehensive company accreditation program as well as individual certification programs,” said Gootkind.
NAPBS offers some Do’s and Don’ts for conducting effective background checks during the heavy holiday hiring period:
- Don’t try the do-it-yourself approach to background screening – Conducting a Google search or checking social media is not adequate or appropriate for vetting potential employees and could leave you open to legal issues.
- Do hire a professional background screening service - Partnering with a professional will ensure you obtain the most comprehensive and accurate data to help make informed hiring decisions.
- Do treat all employees the same during the background screening process. Whether full-time, part-time or seasonal, they are still your employees and will most likely be interacting with your customers every day.
- Do make sure you’re aware of your responsibilities as an employer under the law – Background checks are subject to state and federal laws intended to protect those being screened, so obtain an understanding of what you are required to do by law to avoid penalties.
- Don’t fail to communicate with the job applicant – Notify the applicant prior to conducting a background check and allow enough time for the individual to resolve any disputes related to information on the background check.
For more information on how to implement a thorough and effective employment screening at your business – or if you have any questions - get in touch today
Posted in background screening, pre-employment background screening
When it comes to hiring new employees, most businesses understand the importance of pre-screening tactics. The truth of the matter is that hiring the wrong person for the job can cost your business a whole lot of money – up to $840,000, to be more precise. Not to mention the potential legal ramifications.
So it’s really important that you take some extra time during the hiring process to pre-screen your employees properly, without cutting any corners. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind as you perform your next round of hiring:
1. Check their references
Checking references is one of the most important aspects of pre-screening employees. Don’t just request friends and family as a reference, it’s important to look more in depth. Request previous employers, co-workers and other professional references too.
2. Is a credit check necessary?
Credit history may not really seem like the most important factor when it comes to a new employee – and it certainly isn’t relevant for every hire – but it might be more important than you would think. If the new hire is in a position of financial responsibility, or has access to money, this may be something to consider.
3. Review criminal background history
Before you hire a new employee, it’s vital to see what’s on their criminal background. Criminal history doesn’t always mean that you should rule out a potential candidate, and in some states it may even be illegal, but you need to be in the know so that you can protect your business and the rest of your employees.
4. Use employment verification tools
When you take a look at the application of potential candidates, you’ll probably find that many people list previous work history. Did you know that some people lie about their work history as it can make them look more qualified for a position? Check, review and investigate – and ensure that the person you may be bringing on board values honesty.
5. Consider education verification
Along with employment verification tools, you can also perform an education check. This allows you to see the educational history of potential candidates, and can really be an asset when it comes to making the right hiring decision.
Still have questions? Contact us today if you’d like more information on pre-screening employees, and be confident in your hiring decisions!
Posted in background screening
Employers in states across the country with mandatory E-Verify usage laws are nervous about hiring new workers since the electronic employment eligibility verification system became unavailable two weeks ago, due to the federal government shutdown.
It’s just one example of many as to how the shutdown is having a significant impact on the economy, the workforce, and the country. Some of the states most affected include Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and North Carolina, where E-Verify is mandatory for all or nearly all employers.
Last year the government said more than 900,000 workplaces across the US were using the system and 1,200 new businesses were signing up each week, resulting in the current shutdown “causing chaos for businesses and workers.”
An alert on the E-Verify web page of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website tells employers they will not be able to access their E-Verify accounts due to the government shutdown. As a result, employers will be unable to do any of the following tasks while the E-Verify system is unavailable:
- Enroll any company in E-Verify
- Verify employment eligibility
- View or take action on any case
- Add, delete or edit any User ID
- Reset passwords
- Edit their company information
- Terminate an account
- Run reports
- View ‘Essential Resources’
While the government has said that employers can go back to the old system of identification – known as I-9 – confusion reigns. “There are some people who thought they couldn’t hire, which I have said is not true,” said Julie Pace, an employment lawyer at Cavanagh Law Firm in Phoenix, Arizona.
“Some companies are calling now to say they need to train people for this piece of equipment or machine but they are worried about what happens after e-verify gets turned back on again,” she said.
The longer the shutdown goes on, the more confusing the situation becomes. Employers can only hope that Congress gets it’s act together soon and comprehends the impact they are causing the country by failing to put party politics aside.
Posted in background screening, employment checks
Beginning September 8, E-Verify can now validate the information on Iowa driver’s licenses and ID cards. When a new hire presents an Iowa driver’s license or ID card as his or her List B document for Form I-9, E-Verify will require that the document number be submitted.
Iowa is the fourth state to join the Records and Information from DMVs for the Iowa E-Verify (RIDE) program, joining Florida, Idaho, and Mississippi. RIDE enhances Iowa E-Verify submissions and helps to reduce document fraud by verifying driver’s license and ID card information against state records.
RIDE automates motor vehicle document verification between Motor Vehicle Agencies (MVAs) and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The program allows USCIS E-Verify employers to verify their new employee’s driver’s license, permit, or state-issued ID with the issuing U.S. jurisdiction. The E-Verify system verifies the data and responds to the E-Verify user whether the submitted information matches with the MVA data or not.
The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) notes that currently only government agencies and contractors are required to participate in E-Verify. When job seekers fill out the I-9 form they are required to supply a document that establishes identity and employment. Often applicants choose to provide a driver’s license, so the program is intended to make the E-Verify process more efficient.
What is E-Verify?
E-Verify is a program operated by USCIS and the Social Security Administration (SSA) which allows an employer to electronically check information that a newly hired employee would submit on their Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9) against SSA and Department of Homeland Security databases.
Posted in background check, background screening
The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) released a statement applauding the Today Show for emphasizing the critically important role background screening plays in today’s business environment during the Rossen Report, which aired earlier this week.
Employers routinely request background checks for potential new hires and existing employees and rely on background screens to help mitigate the risk of workplace violence, employee theft and negligent hiring lawsuits.
“Health care workers, volunteers working with children, those handling money issues for businesses – and especially home service workers -are all examples of positions where employers need to know who they are hiring,” said NAPBS Chairman Fred Giles. “Background screening is a critical practice that provides employers with the peace of mind and confidence to know they’re making the best hiring decision possible.”
Equally important, a comprehensive screening program gives reassurance to consumers that the contractors, service providers and workmen they let into their homes are safe. NAPBS is pleased to have an ally in Lucia Bone, whose group The Sue Weaver C.A.U.S.E. (Consumer Awareness of Unsafe Service Employment), aims to educate consumers and employers on the moral and legal obligation for criminal background checks on all employees, contractors and subcontractors.
“Consumers should ask not only whether companies screen their workers but also if they use a professional background screener, such as a member of the NAPBS,” said The Sue Weaver C.A.U.S.E. Founder and Executive Director Lucia Bone. “Professional background screeners are subject to federal oversight regarding compliance with all requirements under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and NAPBS members hold themselves to the highest standards of ethical business practices.”
The background screening industry is highly regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as well as state and local consumer protection laws. In addition, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently issued revised enforcement guidance on the use of criminal background checks for employment screening purposes, directed toward employers who use such reports.
You can watch the Today Show clip here.
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