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 press release.

Databases and Background Screening

Background screening for tenant and employment screening usually entails database searches and court record checks such as criminal background checks.  Most information about an applicant is pulled from databases and court records.  Databases allow for the instantaneous background retrieval systems available in the USA today and along with court record checks makes up for most of the information a landlord or employer needs to know before making a leasing or employment related decision.  However, databases are only as good and reliable as the information entered in them.  Fortunately for consumers the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) protects them from inaccurate or out dated information.  For example, if an employment background check is conducted on a job candidate and a criminal record was found, the employer/consumer reporting agency (CRA) has to notify the applicant that a record was found that adversely affected them. Then the applicant can dispute the claim with the CRA and if the record(s) found were either inaccurate, incomplete or out dated they would have to remove the record(s) in question from their database.

Although background checks are extremely important for landlords and employers during the vetting process of an applicant, they need to be conducted in a way consistent with the laws and regulations of local, State and Federal governments.  Databases and court records are essential for landlords and employers to get the information they need in a timely fashion to assist in choosing well qualified applicants.  Databases both electronic and physical are getting better and more accurate over time and access to such information is critical in ensuring the background screening results are reliable.  This includes many forms of background screening including both tenant screening and employment screening.  It is important to note that even with the high quality of database information and court record information available the consumer will always have rights under the FCRA and other government entities like HUD and the EEOC to make sure their personal information is protected and accurate.

To read more about this subject read recent 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 press release.

Areas of Common Background Screening

With background screening becoming common place in many areas, the need for accurate and timely information becomes paramount.  Background checks including criminal history checks are a part of many background screening areas including employment screening, tenant screening and volunteer screening.  The key factor in each background screening sector is risk mitigation and to protect at-risk populations like children and the elderly.  Recently Melissa Sorenson, executive director of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) said, “Screening was uncommon for employers 30 years ago, but popularity of background checks has risen significantly in the last 15 years”.  She went on to say that “the Internet is a big factor, along with amount and availability of information, decreased costs of screenings and a rising desire among employers for risk mitigation”.  It is clear that risk mitigation is a huge reason for the increased use of background screening, but also very high on the list is to protect at-risk populations.  Criminal history checks help to weed out potentially dangerous people, people that could harm or take advantage of the vulnerable people in our society which would include children, the elderly and the disabled.  However, employers want to mitigate risk by avoiding bad employees and to avoid litigation like negligent hiring lawsuits.  Additionally about half of companies also say they perform background checks to maintain a safe working environment for their employees.


Now that background screening is common place the next big hurdle is providing accurate and timely background reports to sectors like employment screening.  There are many companies and organizations and ways of getting background check data.  However, it is critical to use a professional third party background screening company to work with to help get the background information needed to make a well informed decision either for hiring, renting or to fill that open volunteer position.  Third party professional background screening companies are up to date on background screening laws and take great care of the quality of the data they provide.  These firms can also get the background reports requested back to their customers in a timely fashion.  Whether the need for background reports is for employment screening or tenant screening, one fact remains the same, the reports have to be accurate, thorough, up to date and timely.


To read more about this subject read recent 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 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 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 press release.


Summer Camp and Volunteer Background Checks

Summer camps and youth organizations are preparing for the summer season. Many youth organizations hire volunteers to help with the youth programs like summer camp. With volunteers spending time with children an at risk population the need to perform background checks on these volunteers becomes paramount. Some states like New Hampshire just passed new legislation that requires anyone who works with children at youth skills programs undergo a criminal background check effective this year. Thoroughly vetting counselors and other volunteers found in summer youth programs helps make these environments safe for children and give parents peace of mind. A volunteer background check should include a criminal background check, sex offender registry search and a social security number validation with address history trace. 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.


Expungement a Step toward Re-Employment

Along with ban-the-box legislation that removed the check box asking if the applicant has a criminal record, expungement of a criminal record is the best way to achieve gainful employment. If a person has a criminal record on file but has satisfied all the court ordered requirements and sentence they may be eligible for expungement of their criminal record. Some general conditions for expungement eligibility are, the seriousness of the offense, satisfactory completion of the terms of previous sentences, the number of past incidents on file, completion of all probation requirements, satisfying a certain waiting period between incident and expungement, and there cannot be any incidents that interfere or intersect with the criminal record in question and there cannot be ongoing or pending criminal investigations. Currently only a United States Judge can grant an expungement. For a person that has only committed one crime and has paid their dues for it, filing for an expungement of their criminal record is the best course of action they can take to assist with re-employment. When a criminal background record is expunged it is as if the person never committed the crime as the criminal offense is either sealed or destroyed thus not visible to the law. Once the record is expunged the person can say that they have no criminal history if asked by an employer. When a criminal background check is placed on this person after the record is expunged it should come back clean, stating No Criminal Records Found. To read more about this subject read recent  Press Release