Category Archives: Criminal Background Check

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 press release.


Summer Hires – Don’t Forget the Background Check

Many businesses including amusement parks, hotels and restaurants are already starting to gear up for the summer season. In the past the summer season would typically begin around Memorial Day but to take advantage of overseas travelers and for other reasons the summer season can start as early as Easter or spring break.

Huge amounts of part time help will be required at places like Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom who alone will be hiring 2,500 positions for the summer 2015 season. With this enormous uptick of employment it is critical that companies take the time to thoroughly vet their seasonal workers. According to Global Retail Theft Barometer 2013 -2014 total shrinkage among retailers in North America was $42 billion. Performing professional background checks on seasonal hires can help reduce theft at retailers. At a minimum, businesses looking to hire part time or seasonal help should perform a criminal background check, social security number trace and sex offender registry search. If they want to reduce their risk even further they can perform an employment verification check and also conduct some personal and professional references. Currently the cost to perform employment background checks is far lower than that of the cost of a bad employee.

Temporary job positions are often filled by high school and college students who may not have worked anywhere else before. For these candidates it doesn’t make sense to spend money on background checks like previous employment verification. However, performing criminal background checks and a social security validation can greatly help paint a picture of the job candidate and also contribute to risk mitigation. To read more about this subject read the recent press release.


Why Perform Volunteer Background Checks

In many volunteer positions across the country it doesn’t make sense to run criminal background checks on some of these types of volunteers. Where it does make sense is for volunteer positions where time is spent with at-risk populations like children and the elderly. Across the country more and more organizations are requiring criminal background checks including sex offender checks on volunteers. This is most prevalent within the education sector where school districts are adopting background screening policies for volunteers even if they are parents to children in the school.

The current debate going on within the K-12 education system is that schools already have enough difficulty getting parents to volunteer for much needed help already. The fear is that with mandated volunteer background checks less and less parents will be willing to participate at all and therefore will not volunteer for much needed positions. Making these types of volunteers go through a criminal background check can be viewed as intrusive and information required to run the background check is private and sensitive. However, the current trend in the country is to implement an employment screening system for volunteer checks most especially for those volunteers that will have access to children, the disabled or the elderly. To learn more about volunteer background checks and why should background screening be conducted on volunteers read recent press release found at:


Laws Changing on Use of Criminal History Reports

All across the country lawmakers are changing laws pertaining to the use of criminal history reports in the employment screening process. Recently the city of Portland Oregon enacted ban-the-box laws for employers making them remove questions concerning criminal history from their initial job applications. It is important that employers keep current with new laws governing the use of criminal background checks in the hiring process. A good way to stay ahead is to partner with a third party background screening company who is well versed in the laws pertaining to the use of criminal history reports in the employment screening process. As more city and State governments enact ban-the-box laws the employers within those jurisdictions need to adhere to these new laws and understand how it affects their hiring process. Employers need to understand when they are allowed to run a criminal background check in the hiring process and when they are not allowed to. Most new ban-the-box related legislation forbid the asking of criminal history at the initial application process and typically allow for a background check after an interview when the job applicant has qualified for the job in question. To learn more about ban-the-box legislation and when criminal history checks are allowed in the employment screening process read recent press release found at:


EEOC and FTC Joint Guidance Highlights

The newly released guidance by both the EEOC and FTC wanted to make it clear to employers what they are serious about and what they will enforce. The joint guidance has four separate parts: 1.) What employers need to know, 2.) Before you get background information, 3.) Using background information and 4.) Disposing of background information. The most important part is when and how background checks like criminal background checks can be used in the hiring and post-hire process as well as the rights of an individual during this process. The joint guidance wants to make sure that the underlying commitment of employers is both equality and to prevent discrimination. They want employers to eliminate the potential for disparate impact a situation that can occur even if the employment screening process is non-discriminatory but the outcome of the candidates accepted is disproportionally slanted towards one grouping of people or protected class. To learn more about recent EEOC and FTC Joint Guidance read recent press release found at:


Are Post Hire Background Checks Necessary?

Most companies and organizations in the USA currently do not conduct post hire background checks as part of an ongoing employment screening policy. However, some do and within their employment screening policy perform criminal background checks on current employees at a certain time interval like every three years. A private school in Pennsylvania conducts employee criminal background checks every five years as part of a youth protection program Catholic schools created in 2003. Leslie Davila, director of child and youth protection for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and her office is responsible for monitoring employee records to make sure employee background checks are current. As post hire background checks are currently not the norm in the USA there are certainly those who do have an ongoing employment screening policy. When it comes to positions that are in contact with at-risk populations it certainly makes sense to conduct post hire background checks to at least thwart future criminal activity. To read more about this subject read recent press release found at:

What is the Ban-The-Box Initiative?

The ban-the-box initiative is a legislative movement across the United States making it so employers must remove the criminal history checkbox on their job application forms. The laws that have been created and those currently under review are very different from each other and causing significant confusion. Some States allow for criminal history questions and criminal background checks to be conducted after the first phase of employment screening (typically after the first interview). The common component to ban-the-box laws is that the employer cannot pull a criminal history check until after the initial phase in the employment screening process. This means removing the “Criminal History” checkbox from the job application. Then depending on the City, County or State the employer resides criminal background checks can then be performed. Sometimes a criminal check cannot be pulled until a conditional offer of employment has been made as in the case with Hawaii. Employers need to know how the laws in their location and State handle ban-the-box legislation and partnering with a third party background screening company is a great way to start. To read more about this subject read recent press release found at:

Should Mobile Devices be used to Access Criminal Records?

Eventually maybe, but currently it is not practical for Human Resources to perform and retrieve their background checks via a mobile device. Additionally, recent mobile apps used for criminal record retrieval failed to operate within the guidelines of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Additionally, criminal records are not formatted for small mobile devices like cell phones. It is not the best interface for accessing and reviewing criminal records data. The security and privacy of this information is also much more vulnerable if retrieved through a mobile device leaving dissemination and alteration of such criminal data in question. To read more about this subject read recent press release found at:

EEOC – Pepsi Beverages Background Check Policy has Disparate Impact on Black Job Candidates

The EEOC has put a greater focus on criminal background checks in the employment screening process. Their investigation of Pepsi Beverages resulted in a restitution fine of $3.13 million that Pepsi must pay along with having to make changes to their hiring process. The EEOC investigation found that over 300 African Americans were adversely affected by their criminal background check policy that disproportionately excluded black applicants from permanent employment. Pepsi was using arrest records as part of their employment screening even if no criminal conviction was made. does not include arrest records in their criminal reports unless a conviction was made, this decision was made years ago to avoid discrimination and to help employers make hiring decisions based on criminal convictions and not arrest records which by themselves reveal no criminal history. To read more about this subject read recent press release found at:

Background Screening of Tour Guides


New Orleans tour guides must now pass a criminal background check in order to be a licensed tour guide. The tour guides are saying that this requirement is unconstitutional as violates the First Amendment. True that it is in a way free speech but also true that these tour guides spend most of their time with groups of tourists and with a criminal past could be a threat to them. Others would argue that there is no unsupervised time spent with tourists as they are in big groups which would make criminal activity very difficult. The debate continues… To read more about tour guides and background screening read recent press release found at: