Category Archives: Criminal Background Check

Caregiver Background Checks

As the population continues to age in the USA the need for caregivers increases, however the continuing articles in the news show abuse in many forms to this at-risk population.  It is imperative that the US community come together in defense of the elderly in this critical time of widespread abuse from malfeasant individuals.  Taking care of and defending at-risk populations is a serious problem in this modern society and that is why thorough criminal background checks are crucial tools that must be used during the vetting process of any caregiver, especial those with access to the home and those who have unsupervised time with this vulnerable part of the population.
Background checks are generally based on public records and references and, subsequently provide an immediate and unique snapshot of an individual’s past.  When it comes to the background screening of caregivers a criminal history check must include a sex offender registry check and query from the American Most Wanted Lists.
Challenges continue to exist for at-risk populations, specifically the elderly and young children, and examples continue to appear on the headlines almost daily.

A recent investigation in New York State revealed that several employees of a nursing facility had been convicted of felonies prior to being hired to work with the elderly.

An expert commented on the situation on August 4, 2017 in a WKBW report (WKBW.com; Aug 04, 17):

“Nurses, and especially people working in nursing home facilities, are working with some of the most vulnerable of our population,” … “We’re talking about elderly people, people with dementia, people with memory issues, people who are most susceptible to economic crimes and to physical abuse, and people who cannot necessarily speak up for themselves because they’re in this vulnerable position in a nursing home.”  wkbw.com/longform/7-eyewitness-news-investigates-criminal-caregivers

At this critical time in the evolution of the USA It is imperative that hiring managers for caregiver facilities work with a professional employment screening company to ensure compliance with existing laws and to guarantee the background reports are current and accurate.  Even families that hire caregivers on their own should also utilize a professional background screening company to thoroughly vet any new potential caregiver before giving them access to their elder family member.

To read more about this subject read recent press release found here: http://www.criminalbackgroundrecords.com/news/2017-08-09-Caregiver-Background-Checks-Remain-Critical-in-the-Care-of-At-Risk-Populations.html

Time to Review Background Screening Policies

As the year is nearing its end it is definitely time for employers to review their employment screening policies.  2016 brought about many new laws that affect what information/reports can and cannot be used in the hiring process.  Ban-the-box legislation and the recent legalization of recreational use of marijuana in many States alone requires current pre-employment screening policies to be updated to properly reflect these new legal environments.

All over the United States most businesses and organizations perform background checks on new prospective employees.  These background checks include criminal background checks and other reports that now have rules applied to them for when and how you can use them.  Information gathered from background checks deliver vital information to hiring managers looking to sufficiently vet new applicants before hiring.  However, these hiring managers in many States cannot perform criminal history checks until an initial offer is made.

Background reports can be drawn from several sources including public record repositories, county courthouses, the social security administration, unlawful detainers and internet databases.

The use of public records, specifically consumer credit reports, is regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and is enforced predominantly by the US Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The use of other documents, such as criminal history reports, is protected and enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under the authority of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its various updates and expansions.  There are clear rules that employers have to abide by when selecting new employees.  The FCRA and EEOC make it clear how criminal records are to be utilized during the employment screening process through its documents and guidance’s.  With the reality of such entities enforcing laws associated with hiring practices now is the time for employers to review their background screening policies and make the necessary updates to remain compliant in this new legal environment.

To read more about this subject read recent press release found here.

Criminal Records and Ban-the-Box Legislation Still a Struggle

Pre-employment background screening incorporates criminal background checks into its process but Ban-the-Box legislation is changing the legal landscape.  Originally thought to help level the playing field for applicants looking for work ban-the-box has recently met criticism.

With the simple goal of eliminating the question of criminal history on job applications ban-the-box legislation has swept across the nation.  Proponents of this movement believe that this one question severely limits the fair and equal opportunity of all job candidates.  Currently the USA has the highest incarceration rates in the world, and more needs to be done to reintegrate past offenders into free society and eliminating the question of past criminal history it is believed would be a big step in achieving that end.

It is widely believed that recidivism is more likely if a previous offender is released back into society and cannot get a job.  Certain States and jurisdictions have their own laws that can limit how far back an employer can look into the past of an applicant’s criminal history.  This would definitely help applicants that have been out of prison for over 7 years or that have criminal background records over a certain time frame, but it wouldn’t help people that have just been released from prison or recently accumulated a criminal record that did not require prison time.  However, even with ban-the-box legislation the outcome in at least one study showed that employers may discriminate based on race when they can’t ask if the applicant has a criminal history.

Recent studies indicate that ban-the-box legislation may not be helping when it comes to race as a proxy for criminal history.

From the Nation Law Review (NatLawReview.com, Sep 09, 16):

New research by Amanda Agan, a Princeton economist, and Sonja Starr, a legal scholar at the University of Michigan, suggests that, at least in some cases, “ban the box” rules may result in the use of race as a proxy for criminal history. This may increase racial disparity in hiring– even in the absence of criminal histories. (1)

Troubling conclusions came from this research.

The racial gap in callbacks before the ban the box laws was 7% at companies that asked applicants about criminal history. After the laws were enacted, it went up to 45%, suggesting that black applicants were presumed to have a criminal past if the prospective employer was not permitted to inquire. (2)

Although this recent study shows clearly that in this area ban-the-box was not helping minorities and in fact making it even more difficult for them to obtain gainful employment.  At this time more studies are needed and the concerted goal of the EEOC, HUD and FCRA are determined to make it easier for past offenders to get employed and become productive citizens.  Also with the highest incarceration rates in the world it is imperative that we reevaluate past offenses especially those that were non-violent and help these people get their criminal records expunged and enter the employment market with a clean slate.

To read more about this subject read recent press release found here: http://www.criminalbackgroundrecords.com/news/2016-10-05-Criminal-Records-and-Ban-the-Box-a-Continuing-Struggle.html

Lying on Resumes an Easy Catch with a Background Check

Its graduation season and the economy has been showing signs of slowing down making competition for jobs even harder.  Some job candidates may think it worth lying on their resume to make them look more appealing to employers.  Stretching the truth is one thing but flat out lying about a degree earned or achievement received is a bad idea.

From money.cnn.com (May 06, 16):

… concerns are rising that the U.S. economy is losing momentum. Growth is off to a slow start in 2016. Experts anticipate a spring bounce, but the sluggish April jobs report suggests that pop is either delayed or not going to be that strong. (1)

The temptation to lie or stretch the truth in order to get that dream job or that position that would be a great place to start a career can be very high most especially in a tough economy.  These job candidates that think telling lies on a resume won’t hurt them or ever be discovered are certainly not knowledgeable about the employment screening industry.  The fact is that most employer’s higher third party background screening companies to perform background checks on their potential hires.  These employment background checks typically include criminal background checks, education verification, previous employment verification (if applicable), personal and professional references and a social security number search with address history trace.  These background checks would weed out almost any lye on a resume and the truth would be discovered.

If a potential employer finds out that a job applicant lied on their resume it usually means immediate disqualification for the candidate.  In the end it just isn’t worth lying on a resume, it usually does not pay off.  Even if the employer fails to perform the necessary background checks before hiring and actually hires a job applicant with a false resume, then many times in the future it will be discovered that the new hire did in fact lie on their resume.  At this point the company would usually fire the employee for falsifying their resume and once fired for this reason it would make it even more difficult for this person to find another job after that incident.
To read more about this subject read recent press release found at: http://www.criminalbackgroundrecords.com/news/2016-05-18-Lying-on-Resumes.html

 

Don’t Overlook Screening In-Home Contractors

Most companies, organizations and people understand the need for background screening including criminal background checks for tenant and employment screening purposes.  However an often overlooked area is contractor screening, most importantly in-home contractor screening.  Recent news shows the need for thorough background screening on in-home contractors.  Recently a couple hired a moving company in New Brunswick that advertised they have a policy that they run background checks on their employees.  However they ended up hiring someone with a criminal record to help do the job.  The result was theft as the couple noticed some of their best jewelry missing.

This incident and many more highlight the need to properly background check contractors especially in-home contractors that may have unsupervised access to the home.  Theft can be a big issue but there are other possibilities far worse that could endanger family members in the home while the contractor is there.  One of them is sexual assault which also emphasizes the need for a national sex offender search as part of the vetting process.  A 50-State sex offender registry search is normally included as part of a criminal background check.

A third party background screening company can assist in this process by providing background reports like criminal background reports on any contractor being given access to the home.  Additionally it is a wise move to first find out if the contractor is properly licensed before letting them in the home which if they are takes away some of the risk.  A license is critical because it helps protect both parties if something goes wrong in the process.

It is now clear that the safest practice/policy for ensuring any contractor entering the home is not a threat is to first fully vet and background check the contractor.  This procedure is one of the most important steps a person, family or entity can take in order to protect person, family, organization and property/possessions.

To read more about this subject read recent press release found here.

Caregiver and Volunteer Background Checks

As more and more caregivers are needed to care for the aging population and for childcare it is important to the US society to help protect these at-risk populations.  It is becoming more common for families to hire home health care providers into the homes of the families elder members.  It should also be common for these caregivers to undergo a thorough background screening before having unsupervised time with the elderly.  This vetting process should include a criminal background check, sex offender search and social security validation with address history trace.  Additionally it is very beneficial to also check references regarding the caregiver’s reputation and experience in the field.

At birth most children are born into a welcoming family and the responsibility of protecting and raising this young person falls on the parents and perhaps other relatives.  However, in many cases and in many US families this responsibility is also shared with other non-family individuals such as baby sitters, coaches, tutors, instructors, nursery school teachers, volunteers and more.  As the care of a child is shared it is important to perform background checks on such individuals before entrusting them with a child.  In many cases a parent can ask the school or caregiver company if they thoroughly vetted the volunteer or employee before handing over their child.  Childcare and/or caregiver background checks, eldercare background checks and volunteer background checks are becoming a big part of the overall effort to protect at-risk populations.

It is incumbent on US Society to collectively protect at-risk populations like children and the elderly even if no one in your family has members under the care of third parties like home healthcare and child day care.  It benefits the whole society to protect the most at-risk portion of our society.  Also most people will someday become the elderly so helping the older members of our country now will help set a trend where the citizens take care of their most vulnerable and then the next generation will take care of them.

To read more about this subject read recent CriminalBackgroundRecords.com press release.

Legalization of Marijuana Spreads to Oregon

On October 1st, 2015 Oregon became the third State to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana.  Colorado and Washington already enacted this legislation.  This is a big step in decriminalizing marijuana usage and possession.  This legalization will cause companies to re-examine their drug screening policies.  Most companies that use drug testing will continue to do so and the question will become what acceptable level of drug use will be allowed.  Testing for recent or substantial use will certainly be a factor in how a drug test result would affect a current or potential employee’s employment.

The legalization of recreational marijuana is a big step from the already legalization of medical marijuana.  This new law will certainly cause confusion with hiring managers (human resources) and companies with already existing drug policies.  This means that employment screening policies will need to be revisited and most likely revised.

It is important to note that the California Supreme Court has ruled that the State’s medical marijuana law applies only to criminal prosecution, not to the workplace.  Currently it is still up to the employer to decide the rules of employment within their company as long as these rules do not break any laws and are consistently enforced.  Further complicating hiring practices is the spread of ban-the-box legislation and the enforcement of discriminatory practices by the EEOC.  Recent movements to reduce or eliminate discrimination in the hiring process has been substantial and many States now have to remove the “do you have a criminal record” question from the job application form.

Despite the huge changes in the USA taken place to reduce discrimination in the hiring process and during employment, it is a fact that many criminal convictions occur or are directly caused by the use of drugs including marijuana and companies have a right to protect their employees and provide them with a safe place to work.  This means that companies should still utilize third party background screening companies to perform criminal background checks and other background checks as part of their employment screening process.  In the end the legalization of marijuana will make companies within the States were its use and possession is legal change their employment screening policies and drug screening policies.

To read more about this subject read recent CriminalBackgroundRecords.com press release.

Taxi Cab Company Uber under Investigation

Four Uber taxi cab drivers in Los Angeles, CA were found to have serious criminal histories.  These drivers were cited by LA International Airport Police and during this investigation the drivers were found to have serious enough criminal records that could have barred them from working for traditional taxi cab companies.  The offenses ranged from child exploitation, identity theft, manslaughter and driving under the influence.  Each of these offenses would make the drivers ineligible for a city of Los Angeles taxi permit.  This discovery highlights the need for employers including taxi cab companies to use a professional third-party background screening company to perform thorough criminal background checks on potential new hires.

Most employers (69%) report that they conduct criminal background checks on all their job applicants mainly to reduce legal liability for negligent hiring and about half for ensuring a safe work environment for employees.

There are currently many different kinds of background checks available to employers in the USA.  However, it is a best practice to use a professional employment screening company to perform the necessary background checks required to thoroughly vet a new job candidate.  With access to court records, public records and criminal record data a third-party background screening company can make sure the employer is getting all the information they need to make a well informed hiring decision.

To read more about this subject read recent CriminalBackgroundRecords.com press release.

Marijuana Laws Cause Chaos in the Workplace

With more US States legalizing the use of medical marijuana while still illegal under Federal law is causing issues in the work place primarily when it comes to employment screening and determining what applicants to hire. Medical marijuana is now legal in many States and the recreational use of marijuana is also legal under State law for States like Colorado and Washington. However, even in Colorado where the medical and recreational use of marijuana is legal, it doesn’t mean that smokers can’t get fired due to marijuana use.

According to the NY Times on June 16th 2015 a Colorado man lost his court case of an alleged unlawful dismissal due to marijuana use during non-work hours. A random drug test led to his forfeiture of employment. Even in the USA’s most marijuana friendly State it is still up to the employer to determine what employment related policies they maintain for all their employees. Of course employers still need to comply with Local, State and Federal laws concerning the hiring, firing, reassigning and promoting of employees. Currently if an employer has company policy in effect of random drug testing for substances like those contained in marijuana then they can fire the employee for breaching this rule.

Companies in the USA need to understand the legalities regarding marijuana use and need to create employment screening policies that make it clear to current and potential employees the consequences of breaking that policy. Employers need to be aware of laws regarding employment and marijuana use as trends like Ban-The-Box spreads across the Country and with the EEOC on the offensive pushing disparate impact. Also employers need to understand when in the hiring process they can perform criminal background checks if Ban-The-Box laws apply in the State they are in then they cannot have a check box on their job application form asking if the applicant has a criminal record. Typically they can only perform criminal background checks after an initial offer is made. With all this going on now is the time to make sure that employment screening and employment related policies are up to date and compliant with relevant law. To read more about this subject read recent CriminalBackgroundRecords.com press release.

 

Volunteer Background Checks to Mitigate Risk

Protecting children and other at-risk populations like the disabled is very important for the wellbeing of society. With many youth organizations starting up for the summer including league sports it is critical that volunteers undergo a criminal background check including a national sex offender search. Any adult with supervision over children need to be properly vetted to insure the safety of children and other at-risk populations. A simple criminal background check going back at least 7 years would give parents peace of mind knowing that their child is in good hands when they drop them off at practice or some other place that utilizes volunteer help. A new law in Florida increases the protection for children by expanding their background check requirements for both contractors and volunteers. The new State law intended to protect children from sexual abuse in response to the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State University, states that any employee or volunteer having routine interaction with children are required to obtain extensive background checks every three years.

Volunteer background checks are not just for summer organizations like league sports it is for year round vetting of any volunteer with routine interaction with children. Thorough volunteer screening should include criminal background checks, sex offender registry searches and depending on the role perhaps reference checks and a driving record search. In the end proper volunteer background screening helps mitigate risk and this leads to safer environments for children and other at-risk populations. To read more about this subject read recent CriminalBackgroundRecords.com press release.