Posted in background screening, government, Mind Your Business, MYB
As we begin 2016, we’d like to review — as always — the great year that both Mind Your Business and the background screening industry have had.
There have been significant strides in the employment industry over the past year, with legislation improving employment equality introduced, minimum wage increases, and a reduction in wage theft.
It was another emphatic year for the ban-the-box movement, as more cities and states passed legislation preventing employers from discriminating against job applicants with criminal records. (New York City, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the state of Oregon now have ban-the-box policies, among others.) Indeed, President Obama even signed an Executive Order for federal employers to remove the criminal-history check box from government job applications.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cracked down on enforcement of both the Fair Credit Reporting Act and adverse action on behalf of job applicants in 2015, winning $525 million for defendants who had been discriminated against. (Make sure your company doesn’t become next year’s statistic by making sure you comply to federal laws when taking adverse action.)
Mind Your Business, Inc.
Mind Your Business continued to advance our role as a leading background screening company in the federal space. We expanded the team committed to this space, including hiring a new Director of Government Solutions to lead the effort.
We also acquired two EEO contracts, and became a designated recipient of the Blanket Purchase Agreement for meeting specific requirements under its Social Security Administration GSA Schedule.
In addition, to ensure we stay at the forefront of technology in the screening industry, we integrated our applicant tracking system with even more customer-relationship management programs (taking us to 24 integrations in total). As an 8(a) certified business, we were also invited to attend the National Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Winter Conference.
It has been quite a year! We are thankful to have had such a successful 2015, and look forward to seeing what 2016 will bring, both for the industry and for our company.
Posted in background checks, background screening, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, criminal background checks, Medicaid, nursing homes
In the state of Connecticut, it has been the burden of long-term care facilities — such as nursing homes, hospice providers and home health agencies — to conduct background checks on direct-care employees.
The state requires that employees and volunteers that come in direct contact with residents must undergo federal and state background checks to ensure the individual has no criminal record and no history of abuse or neglect.
In November, however, the Connecticut Department of Public Health created a system that will allow care facilities to better screen their employees and job applicants in an attempt to reduce the number of incidences of neglect and abuse. Long-term care facilities will now be able to use the state’s Applicant Background Check Management System (ABCMS), which should provide facilities with information about applicants’ criminal convictions and any records of patient abuse.
The individual facilities will be able to submit volunteer and applicant information, as well as access fingerprint background check information and other registry information, such as that in the Connecticut Nurse Aide Registry, within ABCMS.
It was not clear whether the ABCMS system contains only state background check information, or federal information as well.
The program was funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the system was created with the help of the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.
Posted in background checks, background screening, criminal background checks, employment, fingerprinting
Despite the company publicly denouncing fingerprint background checks due to database inaccuracies and unfairness, Uber has quietly started testing the fingerprinting process on some of its drivers. Uber background checks have been a controversial issue since day one.
Five hundred Los Angeles-based Uber drivers were invited to undergo fingerprint background checks; it has not been determined whether fingerprint screening has been tested in other markets, or whether the fingerprinting program will expand at this time.
Background checking comes up frequently with ride-sharing services such as Uber, as several allegations of assault have surfaced since the company first gained popularity. In fact, the company claimed to have the “safest rides on the road” at one point, despite concerns that, by forgoing fingerprint checks, it was easy for people to apply to be Uber drivers under someone else’s identity.
Last December, Uber released a “Commitment to Safety” post on its website that indicated that the company would be looking into biometric and voice safety options for driver screening. Uber does utilize other kinds of background checks outside fingerprinting; however, the company has found itself the target of some lawsuits — including with the state of California — over misleading background check information that was provided to the public.
Taxi services utilize fingerprint background checks when hiring drivers.
Posted in background checking, background screening, employment, employment background screening, identity theft, scams
In a recent study regarding cyber crime and company security, business professionals were asked what factors they deemed most important when it comes to protecting their companies against hacks, stolen data and other cyber crimes.
While survey respondents had the option to choose from a variety of factors — such as physical security, access control and anti-malware software — a full 60 percent of respondents said the most important form of security is to conduct background checks on potential and current employees. This is perhaps because 35 percent of respondents see former employees as the highest security threats, only behind professional hackers (whom 55 percent of respondents saw as a security threat).
In addition, 47 percent of the professionals were concerned about their own personally identifiable information being stolen due to cyber crime, more so than about other information — such as credit or financial information, or intellectual property — being stolen.
The study showed that in 2015 alone, “compromised records” have resulted in approximately $400 million in employer losses.
Ninety-eight percent of respondents said that they thought background screening was at least “somewhat important,” with 57 percent declaring background screening to be “extremely important” to cyber security. Likewise, 35 percent of respondents thought re-screening existing employees was, at least, “somewhat important.”
However, despite these admissions, only 13 percent of the employees’ companies conduct repeat screening year after year, with an additional 10 percent conducting employee re-screening biannually. Sixty-one percent of respondents said their companies never re-screened employees after hiring.
To learn more about conducting employment re-screening, or to create re-screening policies, get in touch with Mind Your Business.
photo credit: Phone security via photopin (license)
Posted in background screening, criminal background checks, pre-employment background checks
While some forms of background screening are par for the course for most employers, fingerprint background checks are not always as common. However, they have been getting more and more press recently. Why do employers check fingerprints in the first place, and what can they find out by doing them? Should all employers check fingerprints before hiring?
Here are three good reasons for doing fingerprint background checks at this time:
1) To meet position requirements. Some types of positions — such as teachers and law enforcement officers — require thorough background screening to ensure the employee does not have a criminal record that would preclude him or her from being able to perform the job. For those who work with children or the elderly, any kind of felony record is likely to remove that candidate from consideration.
2) To meet industry requirements. Some employers, such as Medicaid, have implemented requirements that some (if not all) employees must undergo fingerprint background checks in an attempt to reduce instances of fraud. Employers check fingerprints because they can be checked against databases like the FBI’s fingerprint database, in which any crime that has been reported in county, state or federal courts will turn up. (However, these databases are not foolproof. Problems with how the districts report crimes and how the databases are managed have cause concern before.)
3) To ensure a future employee’s criminal record is clean. While databases are not perfect, fingerprints are the most accurate way to ensure a person’s identity and criminal record. While you can always change the name you go by, you can’t change your fingerprints, and so any records associated with those fingerprints will always be there. Even if a position does not legally require someone with a clean criminal record, some employers are more likely to prefer candidates that don’t have certain types of crimes on their records (such as financial crimes if the candidate is applying to work in the accounting department).
Contact Mind Your Business to learn if fingerprint background checks are right for your company.
Posted in background check, background legislation, background screening, potential babysitter, school background checks
On July 1, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed off on updates to the state’s previously approved child-protective background checking law. Despite the original law’s intention to protect children from sexual predators by requiring volunteers to undergo criminal history and state police background checks, there was much confusion regarding who the law should apply to, and which types of jobs required mandatory screening.
“We thought we’d been specific … giving kind of generalized definitions of who would need a background check,” said. Rep. Kathy Watson. “We really weren’t. It still confused people.”
Under the tweaked law, the only people that are required to be fingerprinted and undergo the two mandatory background check processes are those who directly supervise children and those who are responsible for a child’s welfare. Family caregivers will also require screening.
Gov. Wolf also clarified that volunteers will not be responsible for paying for their own background checks, and that those fees will be waived.
University employees, administrative staff, and non-supervisory school volunteers will not require mandatory fingerprinting or either of the two background checking processes mentioned. Some universities and schools are continuing to take caution and conduct those checks anyway, but the law clarified that those checks are not required by state law.
Hopefully these clarifications will make it easier for schools, employers and public service offices to determine who must be screened and who may not require screening.
For more information about background screening, and particularly criminal background checks for child welfare, contact Mind Your Business today.
Posted in background checks, background screening, credit checks, criminal background checks, drug tests, employment, false resume information
If you’re a new business owner or have recently become more involved in the hiring process at your company, you may be wondering what measures you can put in place to safeguard the business. There are several types of background checks that an employer can conduct at various points in the hiring process, and each plays a different role in protecting your company or organization. Here is a basic overview of the types of background checks you should consider implementing, and when they are best utilized.
Criminal background checks
Criminal background checks are common in employment situations in which the employee will have access to company financial information or will be working with vulnerable populations. Oftentimes, a company will reconsider hiring the person if they are applying for a position related to a previous felony conviction. In order to conduct criminal checks, a background screening company will check state and federal databases in order to turn up convictions and arrest records for employer review.
Caution: if your state has ban-the-box laws on the books, you may not be able to conduct criminal checks until after an interview has been conducted, or even until after an offer of employment has been made. The exception is for those applying for jobs that require employees to work with children or the elderly (such as teachers and nursing-home attendants), or in sensitive fields (such as law enforcement), where candidates must pass criminal checks as part of the job requirements.
A credit check is one of the types of background checks. This review allows your business to run a “soft” credit inquiry on an applicant, so you’ll be able to see his or her credit report or without affecting the credit score. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires you to inform applicants in writing that you will be conducting credit checks. Credit checks are best used when a candidate is applying for a job in finance, or when they will have access to company coffers or credit cards.
Employment or education verification
Ensuring that the applicant’s resume is accurate and truthful is wise, and this is where employment verification and education verification come into play. Sometimes applicants commit resume fraud by listing degrees they never earned and employers they never worked for, because it makes their resumes look more appealing to future employers. Confirming the events and locations listed on a resume can be time-consuming for busy employers, so it’s best to leave this process to a background-screening company.
Many employers conduct drug tests prior to employment regardless of industry, but drug testing is especially important for those positions in which an employee can affect someone else’s safety, such as jobs in manufacturing or transportation. A drug test can be as simple as a urinalysis, or more complicated with hair or blood tests.
It’s a smart practice to review an applicant’s references to ensure that there have not been any issues with the applicant’s past performance. A reference check simply requires checking in via phone or e-mail with the people the candidate has listed as references, as well as former employers, to ensure accuracy regarding the skills and accomplishments the applicant claims.
Be aware that, while all of these types of background checks are great options to consider when hiring, laws vary from state to state. Working with a background-screening company can ensure that you stay within the bounds of the law in your screening practices.
For more information about how you can utilize these types of background checks when making hiring decisions, contact Mind Your Business.
Posted in background screening, ban the box, criminal background checks, employment
After last month’s Senate vote to pass statewide ban-the-box legislation, the Virginia House of Delegates approved the new measure and Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed it into law on April 3. The new law requires state government job applications to remove all questions about an applicant’s criminal history.
The law allows for background checks to be conducted on these individuals after the candidate has been found to be qualified for the job; according to the order, this will only happen after a candidate has been deemed eligible for a position, is being considered for a specific position, and has signed a waiver authorizing the state to conduct these checks.
Provided the candidate signs the waiver, he or she cannot be turned down for the job unless former convictions are specifically related to the position for which the candidate is applying, or if convictions prevent him or her from working in certain capacities.
“We should not seal the fate of every man and woman with a criminal record based on a hasty verdict,” said Gov. McAuliffe. “If they are eager to make a clean start and build new lives in their communities, they deserve a fair chance at employment.”
While the order only applies to state jobs, it encourages private employers to take similar action on their job applications. Several private employers, including Target and Wal-Mart, have already removed criminal history questions from job applications in Virginia.
Gov. McAuliffe also cited statistics about criminal history questions disproportionally screening out people of color; this law is an attempt to reduce the “unequal impact on our minority families,” according to Gov. McAuliffe.
According to the National Employment Law Project, an estimated 70 million Americans have some kind of criminal record.
Virginia is now the 15th state — not including Washington D.C. — to have ban-the-box legislation on the books.
photo credit: Application – pen via photopin (license)
Posted in background screening, criminal background checks, employment background screening, pre-employment background screening, student background checks
While some jobs require employees to pass all kinds of criminal background checks in order to begin work — jobs like teachers and police officers — other types of positions may not be so stringent. However, whether you think background checks are necessary or not, it’s always better to err on the safe side.
This subject was brought up when it was found that not all family fun centers or children’s organizations in Colorado screen their employees. (This is not such surprising news, as Colorado lawmakers recently shot down legislation requiring club sports volunteers and staff to undergo criminal background checks before allowing them to work with young athletes.) Spin City in Grand Junction, Colo., for example, provides family fun through bowling, laser tag, roller skating and an arcade, but does not conduct background checks on employees.
“We don’t do background checks here just for the simple fact that most of our staff is kids or young adults and most of them don’t really need to have a background check,” said Spin City’s Sheila Johnson. (Employees are, however, required to pass drug tests.) She said that most of Spin City’s employees are in high school or their first year of college.
Here are three reasons businesses — especially those whose employees will be interacting with children — should conduct criminal background checks.
1) Assumptions aren’t always accurate. Just because someone is young does not mean he or she is incapable of having a criminal or juvenile record. Even young adults can find themselves with a crime on record, and putting other people’s children in that situation, even via negligence, puts the company in danger of a lawsuit if something were to happen.
2) The EEOC could get involved. It’s one thing if the only people applying for a job at a particular company are teens and young adults, but it’s quite another to only hire young people in order to avoid the background check process. If an older candidate is denied a job due to age and chooses to sue, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may wind up getting involved, which can tie up your business in court for extensive amounts of time and money.
3) You’re putting the company, and its employees and clients, at risk. By not conducting background checks, you’re opening your business up to dangerous situations. What if your employee has a history of violence or theft? If you don’t screen, you’ll never know, and that can be a danger to your other employees or the customers you serve. It can also potentially open a door for lawsuits against your business.
Always conduct criminal background checks when you’re hiring employees, especially if the employee will be working with children, the elderly, or in other situations that could put other people in danger. Working with a background screening company will help you further, keeping up to date on existing screening laws.
Contact Mind Your Business today to learn more about the process of conducting criminal background checks.
Posted in background checks, background screening, pre-employment background checks
Air travel in the U.S. requires an extensive passenger screening process; between pat-downs and X-ray machines, random hand-swabbing and required removal of belts and shoes, you’d expect the airport to be an incredibly secure place.
However, in light of a Delta Airlines employee who was charged with smuggling guns onto planes in Atlanta, there has been increased scrutiny on the screening of airport personnel. As it turns out, there are hardly any processes in place to prevent employees from bringing hazardous materials or items to their workplace.
Only two of the major U.S. airports — both in Florida — require “secure access” airport personnel to pass through metal detectors on a daily basis in order to get into the airport. Most other airports allow Transportation Security Administration and other airport employees to pass in and out of the airport without being screened.
In addition, while employees need to pass a background check in order to get hired, most never undergo any further screening, random or otherwise.
“What good is all the screening at the front door if we are not paying attention enough at the back door?” asked New York Rep. John Katko, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Transportation Security, during a hearing about airport security regulations.
The Homeland Security Institute conducted a study in 2008 regarding random screening of airport personnel, and found that conducting random checks was almost as effective as screening 100% of employees. Regardless, that practice has not been implemented in the majority of U.S. airports.
The employee that was charged was a Delta baggage handler working at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He had brought guns to work with him, was not subject to any scrutiny, and was able to pass the weapons over to a passenger that had already gone through the TSA security checkpoint. The TSA is now considering what can be done to prevent similar security breaches in the future.
“We recognize that 100% screening of airport employees has operational and cost challenges. But the unmistakable fact, as recent events suggest, is that we need to be consistently vigilant in our efforts,” said Miguel Southwell, who is the general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. “Any system is only as strong as its weakest link.”
photo credit: N173DZ@TXL;18.10.2010/588bl via photopin (license)
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