Wrongful Termination: Facebook Details

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Georgia school teacher was terminated just three weeks into the 2009 school year when one of her students told school officials that the teacher's Facebook page included photos of her consuming alcohol.

Ashley Payne sued the school last week for being forced to resign without due process. Administrators confronted her about the content of her Facebook page. "There's so much focus on this one little thing in my personal life, and nothing on the good things I had done there," said Payne. "I didn't do anything unethical or immoral. I didn't use foul language or act that way in the classroom."

Payne may have the ability to win the suit, but it is advisable that any professional in any field monitor their public profiles, your employers and clients certainly are.


Work Place Violence

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

After the fatal shooting in Orlando, FL and the mass murders at Fort Hood in Texas, the issue of workplace violence has America buzzing again.

The Fort Hood incident has received a lot of media coverage already and is one of those terrifying incidents that remind us all that people are unpredictable and that they can be violent. Due to the large-scale terror inflicted by the gunman at Fort Hood, much of the incident in Orlando was under covered by the media.

After one year at an engineering firm in Orlando, Jason Rodriguez was fired for failure to improve performance. Over the next two years, Rodriguez apparently never got over the termination and returned to the job killing one employee and injuring others.

While rare, these types of incidents remind people in our industry of exactly why background checks are down. Not all workplace violence result in death or serious injury, but we should all be aware of the escalation that can occur. Those instances of non-lethal violence such as stalking, threats, intimidation, harassment or property destruction often go unreported. Bullying can escalate and most businesses, at some point, experience some form of work place violence.

Background checks are important for finding out if a person has a past history of violence, but it is important to remember that if somebody has no past, there is really know way of knowing if they are capable of such violence.


7 Hot Topics When Selecting a Background Screening Firm

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

If you are in business, you know that often, one of the best ways to protect your company is to protect it from criminals. Most companies perform pre-employment background checks, band almost all consider it at some point.

As a company makes their selection process the following seven hot issues are things to consider when making your service provider selection. The industry is moving away from the idea that background checks are the unequivocal way to weed out a bad choice, and understand that the entire investigation can actually play a role in defining your company values and what constitutes a qualified candidate.

1. Your service provider should be able to guide you in making decisions based on the quality of information provided. They can help you implement company wide hiring decisions, make them visible to all recruiters. Company-wide hiring standards protect you in the long wrong. Ask your provider or your prospective provider today what they can do to help.

2. Advances in technology allow your provider to give you faster initial screening results that reach a broader amount of sources for information. Automated database searches can give you quick delivery of results, but should also be backed up by in-depth searches to ensure no records were missed. Be wary of a service provider who sells you an instant background check with no other investigations, they are likely utilizing a database and are bound to miss records.

3. New studies indicate previous notions about the likelihood to commit crimes have changed. New laws may be introduced as a result of these studies. Your provider needs to be aware that employment laws are subject to change. You should feel confident your provider will provide you with the information necessary to keep you legal and for the fair treatment of all applicants.

4. As job competition heats up, more and more applicants will be using inflated information on the resumes - they will falsify work information, education history, references, anything they can to get an edge over their competition. Ask your provider what sort of measures they take to ensure your candidate really is the best person of the job, and not just a bunch of smoke and mirrors.

5. Regular follow up background checks are a good idea. Many companies use a background check as a pre-screening tool only, but if your now current employee commits a crime over that long three day weekend, there is a chance you may not know about it. Follow up screenings can be sensitive areas and it's a good idea to consult with your provider to set up company-wide standards and procedures.

6. Employment authorization. Be sure your employees are eligible to work in the United States. The subject has been under scrutiny for the last 3 years in Washington, DC, and many new laws have gone into effect that could seriously undermine your ability to perform well under a government audit.

7. Your provider should also be up to date on the growing unease of the use of credit checks as a pre-screening tool. Washington state, Connecticut and Hawaii have all passed laws regulating the use of this information. Ask your provider how that effects your pre-screening policy today.


Employee Records: Keep Them, and Keep Them Organized

Monday, November 16, 2009

Most companies keep some semblance of good, organized employee files. Going above and beyond when it comes to keeping the files up to date and archived is a not often used, but highly recommended practice.

In the event of employee grievances or in the terrifying case that your company becomes subject to a government audit, you'll be happy you took the time to implement a good policy when it comes to archiving these important documents.

Good practice is to create the file no later than the first day of hire. Any documents that are signed by the employee should be stored in that file. Two copies should be made, and provided to the employee. The file cabinet containing the documents should be locked at all times, and any I9 and employment verification documents are to be kept in a separate locked file.

Its a good idea to take a look at your state labor board's website for further descriptions on what type of information should be retained both during the employees tenure and after their termination.


Driving Safer for Teens

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Great news for parents of teenagers! A new application disables cell phones while driving.

Jonathan Young, president of Textecution, developed a user-friendly phone application that can disable the cell phone whenever a car is moving. It took two months to develop the software which links the device to the vehicles GPS functions. When the vehicles moves more than 10 mph, all texting is disabled. Once the vehicle stops, it is available again.

Parents are given the authority to enable and disable the software as they see fit, for example, if the teen is a passenger in the car, Mom and Dad would probably be willing to allow them to text while moving.

Textecution is an application for phones utilizing the Android Platform.

Textecution believes the application will be on the phones of most teenagers in three years.


Crimes Committed by Criminals

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Each Wednesday, Liberty brings you Crimes Committed by Criminals, a new feature intended to highlight the most important reason to screen for criminals.

Most persons arrested for criminal offenses have prior arrest records, and many have arrest records in more than one state.
(Federal Bureau of Investigation)

Daniel Vincent - 16 bank robberies - 5 years in Federal Prison

Released from federal custody in April 2008, Vincent faces new robbery charges after a car chase ended in a crash outside Lexington, KY.

Lexington's First Federal Bank was robbed at 11:27am on Friday, November 6. The man, dressed in black, implied he had a gun, collected money, and fled the scene in a black SUV exceeding 80mph before crashing. Vincent is being held on first degree robbery charges in Kentucky.

Vincent pled guilty to robbing 16 banks in a 20 month spree in November 2003. He took over $53,000 from the banks.


Rhode Island Churches Weigh In on the Immigration Debate

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In an interesting move, the Rhode Island Council of Churches has issued a document urging their followers to be compassionate toward immigrants - illegal or otherwise.

Reverend Donald Anderson stated that the document wasn't to be considered a policy paper, but more of an outline on the principles of immigration as described in the bible to help those with faith approach the issue.

The document outlines many cases of immigration in the bible, most notably the Jewish relocation from Egypt. It proceeds to argue "Since one motivation for immigration is the relative prosperity of the U.S., some may argue that the federal government should protect that prosperity from declines caused by excessive immigration. It is not clear if the U.S. economy is improved or worsened by immigration."

It lists some standard acceptable beliefs such as giving legal status to families attempting to reunite.

The immigration debate goes in cycles, but it seems we're in for a long slow burning as all sides continue to weigh in on the best approach to the issue. What is certain, E-Verify is currently here stay, and the R.I. Council of Churches had nothing bad to say about that particular standard.


Idaho Schools Plan Nicotine Testing

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cassia County School District is making plants to test their student athletes for nicotine use. 20% of Idaho teenagers use tobacco illegally.

The student athletes are already undergoing mandatory drug and alcohol testing.

Cassia County School District Superintendent Gaylen Smyer stated that when "the athletes make the team they will be randomly tested throughout the season. When the athletes are randomly tested 50% of the tests will check for the presence of nicotine."

The school district will use the data received from the random tests to further document cigarette use among teenagers. Offending teens shouldn't receive as severe punishment for positive tests since nicotine is not an illegal drug like marijuana or cocaine. However, it is illegal of children under the age of 18 to posses nicotine, so it should be taken seriously and the matter handled proactively with counseling and support.


Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

Monday, November 2, 2009

In April 2008, Michigan deemed medical marijuana a legal right, and since then about 5,100 people have registered as users with just over 1,000 denied applications. The prescriptions are for pain relief among people who are chronically and terminally ill. Michigan isn't alone, 13 states across the county have legalized marijuana for medicinal use.

What happens when a medical marijuana user tests positive for a drug test? In an article for freep.com, Kathleen Gray investigates.

In states where employees have tested positive for drug use but were medicinal users, the law has consistently sided with the employer.

Michigan's laws aren't clear cut. One section states that the user cannot be "subject arrest...or denied any right or privilege including...disciplinary action by a business," yet another portion states "nothing in the act shall be construed to require an employer to accommodate the ingestion of marijuana in any workplace or any employee working while under the influence of marijuana."

Executive director of the Institute for a Drug Free Workplace, Mark de Bernardo states, "Marijuana is a dangerous drug that detrimentally affects the workplace. It has impacts on health care costs, productivity, accidents, and employee turnover."

It seems that users are not protected by this law from losing their job. Should a positive test come back, as it would for any prescription drug, an MRO should deem that a prescription in fact justifies the use, it seems it is up to the employer whether or not they would like to take the risk of having a pot smoker in their workplace.


Job Hunt, Don't Lose Your Identity

Friday, October 30, 2009

If you're one of the thousands of Americans on the prowl for a job, you should be aware, you are a target for a sophisticated and particularly cruel con artist.

Richmond, VA - The Office of Consumer Affairs reports 87 consumer complaints about the companies Virginia Personnel, Inc. and New Beginnings, Inc. Both companies fraudualently extracted identifying and personal information from the "applicants." Some of the tactics they used that you should be aware of:

  • Job Guarantees - the old saying still goes, if it sounds too good to be true...
  • They actually sold "Employment Information" and never advertised a job position.
  • Do not include any identifying, personal information on your resume. No need to put your SSN number on that document.
  • Provide only your email address until a position is formerly offered and a start state is set.

Lynn Oaks of TrustedID says, "Only share information that will allow them to contact you to have a follow-up conversation." Also, check out the company before agreeing to anything. See if they have a legitimate website, read online reviews.

Biggest tip offs that you're working with a scam artist:

  • Job offer with no background check
  • No face-to-face interview
  • No reference check

Be careful out there!


Clearing the Air about E-Verify

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The staff at Liberty often receives calls from our users regarding the complicated rules of E-Verify, the government run program that utilizes information stored at the SSA and the Department of Homeland Security to screen for authorized workers.

I found an article today that exemplifies just such confusion, and even worse, the reporter doesn't provide any details regarding the relatively straightforward process for E-Verify.

Two workers for Chicago businesses have filed complaints against their respective companies about their termination for being unauthorized by the E-Verify system.

The employees claim they were wrongfully fired after E-Verify was used. In a broad statement that goes virtually unidentified, the reporter states "The the system has some widely reported flaws." The widely reported flaws are mostly generated by advocates against the system itself. Here are the statistics.

Employees cannot be fired until 8 federal working days after their Tentative NonConfirmation is returned. Employees cannot even be processed with E-Verify until after their Form I9 paperwork is complete and they are on payroll. Both these measures are designed to protect not the company, but the employee, against acts of discrimination. The measures are good ones, and will prevent the unlawful firing and denial of the right to work for those persons who are authorized to do so.


Virtual Borders

Monday, October 26, 2009

The immigration debate is about to heat up again. As we reported last week, a new bill to be introduced by Rep. Luis Gutierrez will likely stir the pot. But there is one thing that has broad agreement and reception, E-Verify as a virtual border.

As only 10% of the nations borders are considered secure, E-Verify seeks to eliminate the most powerful of paths for illegal immigrants, job security.

Over 8 million employees were entered into the government run program last year, and about 3% of those were denied jobs because they were undocumented workers. If use of the system was made mandatory, it would effectively eliminate the major enticing factor for illegal immigrants by denying them the job opportunities they risked so much for.

E-Verify holds promise as a system that will not only deter illegals from entering the county - they won't be employable without legal status, but as a way to unsettle established illegals. As the program grows and flourishes, it is expected that legal immigration will become more selective, allowing skilled workers more opportunity to gain legal status. It should also allow family members of legal workers the right to immigrate as well.

The implications of the program are great and the broad acceptance bodes well for reform, however, the debate for this season is just getting started. Liberty expects there will be changes in the climate for verifying your works and staying in compliance. Stay tuned...


Immigration Reform Calls for Employment Authorization

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D - Chicago) progressive stance on immigration reform can be found on a recent bill he will introduce to the House in coming weeks.
In an obvious stance for immigration rights, Gutierrez worked closely with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights Gutierrez developed the bill to say, "If you come here to hurt our communities, we will not support you, but if you are here to work hard -if you are here to make a better life for your family- you will have the opportunity to earn citizenship."
  • The bill would likely enhance the troubles with E-Verify, used now by access the Social Security Adminstration and the Department of Homeland Security to ensure all workers in the US are authorized for employment. E-Verify has come under scrutiny for lag time in updating resources and the reporting of misinformation. In essence, E-Verify is an excellent program that targets employers and holds them responsible for employment decisions.
Among the demands to bill targets to meet are those of improving the verifications for a worker's legal status and a legalization program for unauthorized workers who've been in the US for more than 5 years and meet other criteria.
Not everyone agrees with these ideas. “Amnesty for illegal aliens is what this is all about,” said Dave Gorak, executive director of the Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration. “When you reward people for breaking law you only encourage other to do same,” he said.


Los Angeles City Councilmen Embezzle Thousands

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Los Angeles neighborhood council officials are unelected and unpaid. Apparently, they are also not subject to background checks to earn the role, despite the fact that many of them have access to large sums of taxpayer dollars.

It is one thing to have one or even two council members working together to embezzle money, but when half a dozen member make off with over $250,000, the city of Los Angeles should seriously reevaluate their vetting process.

89 LA neighborhood councils received $50,000/year to spend as they see fit upgrading playgrounds and business districts, removing graffiti and having neighborhood sponsored block parties.

Created in 1999 to empower communities, neighborhood councils provide a grass-roots like movement that allow people to have a say in how their tax dollars are spent. They ought to implement a background check as their first order of business for every councilman.


Real Advice about Falsifying Your Resume

Monday, October 19, 2009

Taken from the archives of "Dear Prudence" at Slate.com, Prudence offers Remorseful Job Applicant great advice:

Dear Prudie,
I've been out of work for several months and have had trouble landing interviews—I have children and really need a job. My résumé is fantastic, with excellent references, but I do not have a four-year college degree. Finally, I got desperate and edited one of my résumés to show that I had a bachelor's degree from a college I attended 30 years ago. I sent it out only once (and have since deep-sixed it). The problem is that I received an inside referral to a job with an excellent company, hit it off with everyone during the interviews, and landed the job—contingent on my passing a background check. This is where I sent my falsified résumé. I completed the background check truthfully. But now my stomach is churning and I want to call the company, tell them what happened, and resign the position. I've never done anything like this before. It may be the worst thing I've ever done in my life.
—Remorseful Job Applicant

Dear Remorseful,
Do not resign! Contact human resources immediately and tell them there's a mistake on your résumé and that it should say you attended, not graduated from, your college. Let them know the background-check form is accurate. That may take care of the problem. If your call raises questions, be succinct and truthful. Say you made this onetime mistake in a foolish attempt to improve your résumé, you regretted it the moment you did it, and whatever else happens, you are relieved to have put things right. It's much better for you to come forward first before the checkers find the discrepancy. Yes, there's a chance they won't, but that's a big risk. If they miss it, and you do get hired, every time anyone says, "Marvin, can I see you in my office?" your stomach acid will pour. If you get the job and this comes out later, it could be a firing offense. And if this is the worst thing you've ever done, take pride in having led such an exemplary life.



Rampant Abuse of the Elderly: The Tribune Investigates

Friday, October 16, 2009

A three part series published by the Chicago Tribune this month exposed the mistakes made by Illinois nursing homes when caring for the elderly.

Mixed with the older nursing home patients were mentally ill felons. A dangerous combination of incomplete background checks on the younger criminals, low staffing, and a breakdown in reporting of assaults and crimes committed in the facilities

Illinois nursing homes have a good safety record, said Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, but he added that "the issue has always been people with criminal records -- what screening and what protections do you put in place. That will be looked at."

State Senate committees are currently meeting to fully investigate the matter and raise the standards for processing mentally ill criminals.


Retail Market: Employee Theft

Thursday, October 15, 2009

In a typical year, there are 6-7 cases of employee theft in the retail marketplace.

Industry estimates indicate that employee theft makes up 40-50% of all loss in the average retail store.

Retail stores are vulnerable to the practice, but have devised a method of fighting back. Top retailers in India have organized to develop a so-called "blacklist" to combat the loss of about $125 million dollars per year.

The list will include the names of people who exhibited unethical conduct, bad behavior, and who left without notice. It also includes thieves, though a typical background check should find that information as well.

In fact, the retailers should be aware that providing such information on an open list such as the proposed could violate privacy rights of the candidate's, though privacy rights in India may be much different than those in the United States where the candidate's information is protected until he or she authorizes its access.

The move is good in measure, but it is generally better to stick to investigative background checks and thorough past employment verification. These procedures standardize your hiring practices where as referring to a blacklist could leave you vulnerable to lawsuits.

For more information about background checks and strengthening your company's hiring practices go here.


Lying for the Job

Thursday, October 1, 2009

As the rate of unemployment steadily climbs, the competition in the job market heats up. The market belongs to employers with 10s, even 100s of applicants applying for each job posted. If you're among the many unemployed, searching for work, and quickly running out of money, the temptation to lie or exaggerate on your resume can be big, especially if you have something to cover up.

If you were fired for performance problems and don't acknowledge them, you could be offered a nice base salary and possibly a bonus to go with it. But if word about your performance issues spreads across the grapevine, as those types of words often do, you could be in for a world of pain. Your employer will likely terminate you for cause. What you might not expect: they can sue you for that hefty bonus, citing that your received it under false pretenses. Now you're out of a job and out of money.

According to a Stanford University study conducted some years back, more than 90% of resumes, in some respect or other, contain false or misleading information, ranging from slight embellishment to outright fraud.


Religious Groups Refuse to Ordain Sex Offenders

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A man from Indiana became an ordained minister through an independent church earlier this month. While that in itself is not headline new, the fact that he is a sex offender is. The church defended the action citing that the man has been reformed.

Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Assemblies of God and the Jehovah's Witnesses are all churches that refuse to ordain sex offenders, reformed or not. They concluded the risk of a repeat offense is serious enough that they deny the offenders the ability to access their denominations.

“If the candidate has committed a sex-related crime, he or she should be permanently disqualified” for ministry, according to United Methodist guidelines, which cite “the massive legal exposure,” as well as “the awareness that currently available treatments for such offenses are of limited utility, with high rates of recidivism.”

“My question to the church would be — why?” Fortune said in a phone interview. “If this person has been in treatment and served their time and so forth, that's fine and that's good. But as a registered sex offender, part of what they're supposed to understand about themselves is that they remain at risk to reoffend.”

She said ordaining such a person is also hurtful to people who have been sexually abused as children, particularly by clergy.

“Repentance, redemption and restoration do not mean that that person is lifted into a position of public leadership,” she said. “There are many other ways they can serve in their community and in their church that would not put them in that kind of role.”


iPhone App Promises Instant Background Checks

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It was only a matter of time. With all the applications available for iPhone, why not an app for running an instant background check?

The free app is called "Date Check" and lets you perform a basic background check on your Friday night dinner companion. Please note, the application itself is free to download, the background check is not.

Using only your dates name or cell phone number, "Date Check" launches several searches, such as "Sleaze Detector" which looks at criminal information, and "Net Worth" which provides detail about a persons assets.

The check costs up to $40 per search, but leaves a lot to the imagination. Legitimate background checks utilize a variety of information to pull information from criminal records, a name being only one of those pieces of information. Be wary of any "instant" check that promises a lot for such a small amount of information, and then charges top dollar for it.


Bus Driver with Record of Drug Related Incidents

Monday, September 28, 2009

Who do you want driving your children to school? Brian Skoglund, 40 was hired by First Student Bus Co. in Northbrook in May. First Student apparently did not run a background check on Skoglund because if they had, they would have found that his employment records were not in good shape.

Seven months earlier, Skoglund was fired from another company for drug related incidents. Skoglund is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 27 on the child endangerment charges and driving under the influence of drugs. He was pulled over for erratic and dangerous driving on September 17 while driving a busload of 7th graders.

First Student Bus Co. claims that Skoglund offered them a letter of recommendation from his former employer, but Rigoni said that the village not only never sent a letter of recommendation, but also was never notified about Skoglund's employment with the bus company.
It is common sense to contact references and former employers for any position you are hiring for, but plain negligence when that position holds the lives of children at stake.
Even in light of Skoglund's background and last week's incident, Richmond said the bus company continues to have complete confidence in its hiring practices.

“First Student's pre-employment background checks are widely known as the most extensive in the industry and often exceed state requirements,” she stated. “The company requires each prospective driver to pass federal, state and local checks, which include criminal, employment and driving histories. In addition, prior to employment each First Student driver is subjected to a drug screening. Regular rechecks are conducted throughout an employee's tenure with the company.”


Polticians and Driving Records: Are they Relevant?

Friday, September 18, 2009

In an article for the New York Post, Phil Mushnick exploits New Jersey Gubernatorial candidate, Chris Christie's driving history as a way to tout his inability to fight crime. Governor Jon Corzine's term is up in November and Mushnick's article seems to seek to tear down the politician the challenger.

"It recently came to light that Christie, 46, has been unable his entire adult life to abide by any state's most fundamental laws. He is a habitual lawless driver...he has been nailed with at least seven speeding tickets, a pile of other moving violations...and, since 1989, he has been involved in six accidents."

Chris Christie serves as a US Attorney, but Mushnick may be taking his accusations too far, using extremist language such as "killing machine" saying the number of tickets "smacks of privilege, arrogance, and reckless endangerment," and compares the news to that of American Idol host, Paula Abdul.

He goes on to provide the details of Christie's most recent speeding ticket in 2000 and the accident in 2007 in which he was chauffeured by State police. Other violations such as seat belt violations were tauted as "cover ups."

Motor Vehicle records can be very telling in certain circumstances. At Liberty, we provide the records to numerous companies for many reasons, typically to ascertain a persons ability to operate a motor vehicle in safe manner for the company running the check. Reports typically go back approximately 3 years and serious violations are automatic dis qualifiers for positions. Very rarely are MVR reports used to ascertain the judgement or moral character of the candidate being screening. DUI records more accurately point to such abuse and reckless endangerment.

What do you think? Should a politician's driving record be taken into account when deeming whether he is fit for the job?


Liberty Screening and E-Verify

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Liberty's E-Verify service goes above and beyond the free government program. We offer support for hard questions. Sure, it's easy to verify authorized employees, but there are stringent laws employers are faced with when they are unable to confirm the candidate's authorized status. By the same token, the candidate themselves are protected under federal law. Many clients we've registered, for example, had no idea that E-Verify is never to be used a pre-screening tool. It is intended for use after-hire, and there is a small three day window in which to verify the candidate's status. Likewise, the employee cannot be terminated if E-Verify is unable to confirm their authorization. They have a time-frame to prove their authorization.

Liberty's service is step-by-step. We provide our clients with the documentation they will need to provide to the candidate, informing their new-hire of their rights and effectively reminding the hiring agent of the new-hire's rights as well.

In conjunction with our E-Verify service, we offer Electronic Form I-9's, an essential element to remain in compliance, and a total saving grace when it comes to government audits. Form I9's are filled out, signed, and stored electronically, a completely paperless and error-proof system. Any new-hire put through E-Verify must have the corresponding I9 documentation to support their status and an actual employee of the company. Liberty's services can help save companies thousands in legal fees and fines if they are ever audited.


Healthcare Reform: Illegal Immigrant Debate

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Illegal immigration was once again thrust into the national spotlight during the now infamous speech given by President Barack Obama on health care reform speech given last week has become the focus of intense scrutiny. Republican Representative, Joe Wilson's outburst, "You lie!" is the center of the attention. Wilson was addressing the President's assertion that illegal immigrants would not, under the health care bill, be able to access the government health care program.

The White House says that Obama doesn't want them to be able to buy insurance and spokesman Robert Gibbs said the White House will work with lawmakers to create language that enforces that. "Illegal immigrants would not be allowed to access the exchange that is set up," Gibbs said.

The controversy that led to Wilson's outburst was stems from the Republicans' contention that illegal immigrants would be able to get federally funded health coverage under the bill - but the bill expressly prohibits federal subsidies for illegals. Critics note, however, there are no expressly written enforcement mechanisms or language on how verification would proceed.

"Without a verification requirement it's essentially like posting a 55-mph speed limit and not having any highway patrol on the road," said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation of Immigration Reform.

It seems this is just another step in the on-going debate over illegal immigration and ways to crack down. Already, employers have been targeted and are being audited and fined for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.


California City Regulates Mobile Vendors

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lathrop city officials are working to pass a mobile vendor ordinance to regulate pushcarts and food wagons. The ordinance would give officials and local police to oversee the mobile vendors and require them to provide information about their equipment and merchandise. They would be subject to criminal background checks and inspections by policy. Parking hours and areas of operation would also be regulated.

Lathrop is one among a few cities nationwide opening policy to overseeing such vendors. In large cities, vendors such as these go largely unregulated and unwatched. The vendors in Lathrop will be required to pay a feed from $225 per cart. The amount of time a vendor can be in one location has increased from 10 minutes to 30 minutes.

And those mandatory criminal background checks for every vendor, a result of the unfortunate incident of a sex offender found operating an ice cream truck in Sacramento. The man was caught taking photographs of children and their homes. An ice cream truck driver who has access to children and provides those children with a false sense of security.

Mayor Kirsty Sayles said, "It's a cheaper and better way to do business and to protect the children, I can sign on to that."


Criminal Background Checks Lagging for Volunteers for Children

Monday, September 14, 2009

Criminal background checks are required in Massachusetts for any volunteer hoping to work with students, but the since the state gutted the criminal history systems board, the backlog has made it nearly impossible to process the checks.

There are only a few people to handle the tens of thousands of requests, creating a turnaround time of almost a month for checks that should take no more than three days.


Terror Watch-List to be Made Confidential

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The terrorist watch-list routinely shares information with federal, state and local agencies but the executive administration is pushing to fully privatize the list. They're concerned the public list alerts terrorists that they are being tracked, which could aid them in evading surveillance.

Officials are pushing for changes to the Information Security Act that would exempt "terrorist identity information" from disclosure.

Arguments against the protection of the list say that the government hasn't proven the necessity for a restriction and that it would make discovering and removing your name from the list much more difficult, if you were unjustly listed as a terrorist.

"Here's the problem," an official said, discussing the matter on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record. "If you've got somebody, including a suspected terrorist, who can FOIA that information, you're making intelligence-gathering methods vulnerable. You're possibly making intelligence agents and law enforcement personnel vulnerable. Suspects could alter their behavior and circumvent the surveillance."


E-Verify Works!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Human resource managers across the county are becoming accustomed to the government's E-Verify program, and they like it. "Really, it only takes maybe two extra minutes to do it," said one.

Some managers feel that the regulations surrounding the program can use some fine tuning. Liberty prides itself on being an expert on E-Verify related matters. Kelly Thames, HR manager for Dunn Roadbuilders in Laurel, MI feels that employers should be able to verify work authorization before hire. (read)

However, such verification could lead to discrimination lawsuits that could cost companies hundreds of thousands of dollars. The post-hire E-Verify law exists to protect job applicants and authorized workers nationwide. Without that protection, an applicants who had a discrepancy with their alien number, work visa, or social security number would be out of work indefinitely. The post-employment law grants those workers the right to remain employed while they clear up the matter with the Department of Homeland Security or the SSA.

E-Verify targets the employers who knowingly hire illegal workers as a means to deter illegal immigration. Contact Liberty to evaluate your company's requirements.


Fake Job References on the Rise

Thursday, September 3, 2009

As if there weren't enough side effects of the current economic climate, new companies are cropping up to help job applicants lie and get away with it. With the rise in unemployment, a more competitive job market is to be expected.

But new companies like Alibi, HQ are making it extremely difficult to weed out the falsifications. The company charges an extraordinary amount to provide professional references, employment verifications and other "discrete" services.

The success of these companies is unknown, but it isn't surprising that the market is headed this way. Many people are out of work and desperate for jobs. Desperate times lead to desperate measures.

Liberty is doing everything in our power to insure accuracy of our verifications.


Reality TV, too!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Since the debut of the smash hit, Survivor, reality TV has been a staple of the American TV consumer's diet. But mixing reality with the potential for fame and fortune is like anything else: dangerous.

VH1's recent show, Megan Wants a Millionaire, is the latest to come under scrutiny. Ryan Alexander, one of the shows participants was accused of murdering his wife, leaving her remains in suitcase inside a trash bin outside a San Diego hotel room. Her teeth and fingernails were removed.

Alexander was arrested after a manhunt on August 23, and subsequently, Megan Wants a Millionaire was cancelled. The situation raises serious concerns about the vetting process for contestants on reality TV.

In statement, the producer said, "The company did have in place what it thought was a thorough vetting process that involved complete background checks by an outside company for all contestants on its shows," it said. "Clearly, the process did not work properly in this case.”


Drug Tests Work in Cumberland County

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cumberland County, NC high school students have been subjected to random drug testing for two years. All students who participate in extracurricular activities are expected to submit to the random tests throughout the school year.

One parish was tested in the first year of the program. Last year, the number of students tested nearly doubled. And the good news, only 5 positive results were returned of the 17 total positives from the parish on the second year of testing.

It seems, students there are getting the message. It is good news for school districts considering similar programs. Recently, hundreds of counties across the county have implemented random drug testing programs with the belief that it will deter drug use. Some citizens believe it is an invasion of privacy, but most school authorities feel it is in the best interest of the students.


Violent Sex Offenders Re-Evaluated

Monday, August 31, 2009

The discovery of Jaycee Dugard, the woman who was abducted when she was 11 from a bus stop in Lake Tahoe, NV, has raised many questions about the monitoring and sentencing of men like the one who kidnapped her, Phillip Garrido. Garrido was a convicted, violent sex offender at the time of Dugard's abduction. On parole, officers visited the Garrido home on several occasions and never discovered Dugard and her children living in the backyard. A neighbor even alerted the police that children were there. Police knocked on the front door, but never searched the home or yard.

Many experts believe violent sex offenders can never be rehabilitated and that the likelihood of them offending again is so high that there should be different standards to which they are held. Garrido's first documented offense in 1976 involved an elaborate hideout in Reno, NV where he assaulted a woman for hours after handcuffing and binding her with a leather strap.

Garrido was sentenced to 50 years in prison, but was released after just 10 on parole. Recent laws have made sentences tougher, violent offender's mandatory sentencing was raised from just 5 years to 35. However, advocates of tougher laws are pushing imprisonment and then treatment "for as long as it takes to rehabilitate" the violent offenders. And in some cases, they will never be rehabilitated, which mean, simply, they would never be released.



Nightclub Workers in China to be DNA Tested

Friday, August 28, 2009

In a strange move nightclub workers are now subject to DNA testing in China. The Chinese government claims the DNA will help recover, identify, and trace victims of crime and kidnapping.

In addition to DNA testing, employees are required to provide fingerprints, photographs and writing samples to ensure employees don't have a criminal background.

"After the DNA collections, those without criminal records will be issued certificates for working in such venues," Long Shijun, deputy director of the local police station said justifying the move. The purpose is to improve surveillance of entertainment venues long considered a hotbed of crimes, he said.

"The records, which greatly help police identify suspects, will be sent directly to the city's comprehensive DNA database, to ensure the records will not be leaked," Long said.

Rightfully so, many are upset by the blatant disregard for privacy rights and the targeting of a specific sector of the population to anticipate crimes they might commit.


Mexico Replaces all Border Agents

Thursday, August 27, 2009

August 17 --

700 customs agents who work at borders across Mexico have been completely replaced in an effort to stamp out drug smuggling and corruption. More than 1,400 new agents were dispatched to 49 customs points near borders and at airports.

The major difference between these agents and the last? They have all undergone background checks to ensure they have no criminal records.

The new agents, more than 70 per cent of whom are university educated, were chosen in a "strict selection process that included psychological and toxicological checks, as well as the necessary investigations to ensure they have no criminal record", the tax administration said in a statement.

The 700 agents who were replaced – fewer than 10 per cent of whom have university degrees - would not be banned from reapplying for their jobs, but would have to meet the new, stricter requirements.


Drug Testing can Increase Profitability

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It is estimated that there are over 14 million drug users in the United States. 75% are thought to be in the workforce.

Statistically, employees who are frequently absent, who are involved in more work related accidents, those who make more compensation claims, have poor production, or who steal cost more to employ than those who don't. Being a drug users raises the probability of exhibition of all these behaviors.

Drug users cost more to employ.

When compared to employees without a diagnosed substance abuse problem, alcohol abusers are 2 times as likely, drug abusers are 3 times as likely, and alcohol –and-drug abusers are 4 times as likely - - - to be hospitalized for an injury

35% of employees have seen / heard of drug use on their current job.

Implementing a pre-employment drug screening program or a random program if you already have the pre-employment are effective ways to curb drug abuse, to weed out those who are using, and to discourage drug use in the workplace. It will raise your production, and your profitability.


Social Networks and Your Company

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The recent popularity of websites like Myspace and Facebook have offered a whole new way of looking at job applicants and current employees. Many employers actually use these websites as a way of vetting their candidates. Looking at an applicant's profile on Facebook can be more revealing than peering at their resume. But what are the employer's obligations to the employee? Are there any rules about the practice of snooping on public sites to make hiring decisions?

Peopleclick, a recruitment company in Raleigh, NC, understood the confusion facing employers practicing these tactics and released a free eBook, Social Networks and Employment Law. To receive your electronic copy, go here.

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter offer an excess of information about job seekers applying for any open requisition in the marketplace today,” said Dr. Lisa Harpe, PhD, Sr. Consultant and Industrial Organizational Psychologist at the Peopleclick Research Institute. “The novelty around these sites overshadows the fact that using these technologies for recruiting and hiring carries with it many legal obligations. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the laws and regulations behind using these sites in the talent acquisition process as employers utilize these networks to consider individuals for employment, verify employment data, evaluate qualifications or use an applicant’s leisure activities as a basis for making hiring decisions. All methods used to make employment decisions are considered selection procedures and subject to anti-discrimination regulations.”


New Hampshire Representative Seeks Looser Laws for Sex Offenders

Monday, August 24, 2009

Charged with two felonies, the 20 year old son of New Hampshire state Representative Jennifer Brown, plead his crimes down to misdemeanors and registered as a sex offender. His attempts to lure a 14 year old girl to a meeting place to have sex were recorded by undercover police officers.

Brown connected with the girl in an Internet chat room. When she agreed to meet him, he drove to the designated spot, waited for a few minutes and left. He was arrested on felony charges, attempted 2nd degree assault and the misdemeanor offense of attempted sexual assault.

He received suspended sentence and was required to register as a sex offender for the next 10 years.

His state representative mother has now introduced a bill that would remove her son's name from the list of registered sex offenders.

"He didn't meet anyone," Brown said. "He got there, turned around and left so fast. . . . He went to the meeting, then said, 'I'm just leaving,' and that's what our state calls a criminal. What happens when you're young derails your career," Brown went on, "You have none. Being on the list is an onerous responsibility."

Brown's proposed change would exempt Tier 1 sex offenders, which includes only those convicted of misdemeanors, from the public list. Those who were exempted would still need to register on a private list with the police department. A Tier 1 sex offender can currently petition to come off the public list five years after he or she completes his or her sentence.

The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union has given their support to the bill. "To put all individuals who have committed an offense in a very broad category in the same pot is absurd," said Claire Ebel, executive director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union.

But state law enforcement are in stiff opposition. Federal funding could be jeopardized if the bill passes. Also, the law enforcement community is adamant that the Tier 1 offenders are more dangerous than the bill allows. Offenses listed under Tier 1 offenders include:

  • Sexual contact with a person age 13 to 18 under aggravating circumstances, which could include using physical force, touching a victim who is physically unable to resist, or coercion by a person in authority.
  • Sexual contact with a person aged 13 to 15, with an age difference of five years or more.
  • Sexual penetration with a person who is incarcerated, on probation or parole by a person in a position of authority.
  • Violation of privacy, including sending out photographs or recordings of private body parts.
  • A second or subsequent incident of indecent exposure.
  • Sexual penetration or contact in the presence of a child.

Tom Reid, deputy county attorney said, "A defendant who could be any age overcomes a victim through application of physical force or violence, holds a person down and grabs their sexual parts . . . that's a Tier 1 sex offender who the bill would exempt." Reid said. "You could have a 60-year-old man who fondles a 13-year-old child for sexual gratification. This bill would exempt that person."



Immigrant Activists Angered by E-Verify Program

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sent out 652 letters to businesses around the US informing them they would be subject to an audit ensuring they are following federal hiring procedures by enforcing a no tolerance policy for employing illegal immigrants.

The letters sparked massive layoffs of undocumented workers by large companies such as American Apparel and Overhill Farms. L.A. activists said this particular measure has swollen the ranks of the unemployed in the midst of the economic crisis.

However, the candidates that were laid off received a "no match" letter when put through the E-Verify program. Candidates were then provided a large window, 30 - 60 days, to receive proper documentation in order to save their jobs. If they cannot provide the documentation within that time frame, they will be unemployed.

Much of these actions angers immigration activists:

In an open letter posted on the website of the Southern California Immigration Coalition, workers fired from American Apparel, Overhill Farms and Farmer John’s wrote:

This is clearly the fault of the Obama Administration and only he has the solution in his hands to stop the cheap scapegoating and racial profiling of immigrants that is now sweeping America. This is certainly not the change we voted for, and not the immigration reform promised by President Barack Obama."

Activists argue that targeting employers does not create real reform, though the traditional method of border patrol and deportation has not proved successful. It might take a few years of American businesses being targeted before real reform can take hold.


Job Scams: Background Checks

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In the current economic climate, the heat is turned up for those seeking jobs. As always, that means those seeking to take advantage are out of the woodwork.

"More families are becoming increasingly susceptible to suspect offers for employment as they try to find work in an extremely competitive job market,” said Mike Boynton, an Atlanta spokesman for the Better Business Bureau.

Job offers don't require an upfront fee. Ads were placed by a Florida company claiming it was looking to hire 2,500 employees for their new headquarters. Applicants had to submit $24 to pay for a background check.

Job placement or recruitment companies don't typically charge for services either. Some job placement companies, however, have been taking money from job hunters and not fulfilling their promises of quick employment.

Legitimate employers will need Social Security numbers for tax purposes and may need a bank account number to deposit paychecks for new employees. But job hunters should be wary of any requests for such information from companies and job offers that they have not vetted fully.


Applying for Job? Have Winning References

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rest assured that when you apply for a job, your employment history and references will be checked. The greater the opportunity, the deeper the investigation. A good job at a visible company will scrutinize every detail of your application and history.

Including professional references for jobs such as these is an important part of the applications process. You need to be sure that the references your potential employer contacts will seal the deal for you, not make your case tougher.

Your references should be the highest quality you can provide. Here are some tips to picking and maintaining a good person for your reference,

  • Keep your records up to date. Keeping up to speed with your references job title, phone number and position in the company is important. If you provide old information, the potential employer WILL find out and it will look like you haven't been in contact with the person for years.
  • Maintain a relationship with your reference, for the same reasons stated above. Also, it will help your reference keep up their opinion of you if you keep in contact. Using sites like LinkedIn can be very useful for this.
  • Advise your reference about important opportunities. You don't want to bother them with every offer that comes your way, but really important opportunities merit a heads up. Let them know what the company is looking for, hopefully it will brighten their reference.


Bad Credit Makes for Terrible Prospects

Monday, August 17, 2009

While the economy is impacting everybody, there are some that are being dealt heavier blows than others. While struggling to pay overwhelming mortgage notes and all the bills that come in on a monthly basis, those hunting for jobs may find may doors shut on them due to bad credit, perpetuating a vicious cycle.

While there are no clear indicators that bad credit necessarily means you are not suited for the job, employers tend to overuse the credit report when making crucial hiring decisions. Unless the applicant will be handling money (cashiers, accountants, etc.) the credit report really has no bearing on the applicants ability.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and state credit laws help to regulate how an employer can obtain and use their findings. An employer must gain your consent in writing to do a credit check and the report they receive is different than one viewed by a credit agency or an individual. Full account numbers are not revealed and they won’t see a credit score, but they will be able to see late payments, collections and bankruptcies. If you are actually denied employment because of your credit report, the company must notify you so that you may view the report on which the decision was based.

In the meantime, a House bill introduced last month would prohibit employers from using credit report details for their hiring decisions. The Equal Employment for All Act, if passed, will keep credit worthiness (with some exceptions for financial firms and government agencies) out of the employment process so that getting credit at work will make it more about performance than payments.


Police Officer Tries to Run a Background Check on Obama

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Philadelphia police officer decided to abuse his privileges when he attempted to run an illegal background check on our president, Barack Obama.

Sgt. Ray Evers took to his computer on August 12 and proceeded to enter Obama into the database search for criminal information. The Secret Service were immediately alerted, as they are anytime a background check on Obama is processed, and they immediately contacted the Philadelphia police department.

It is unknown at this time what will happen to Ray Evers.


Cities Need Background Checks, Too

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The city of Brownsville, TX is under fire by its citizens for mishandling city funds. The move to bring in large concerts has uncovered weaknesses in the cities budget planners including loosely drawn agreements and contracts has led the citizens of Brownsville to question their officials capabilities.

Among their largest concerns are the vendors the city chooses to do business with. Brownsville residents are considering requiring that the city perform background checks on the vendors before awarding contracts.

Not a bad idea. It's not hard to process a background check, and hard earned money it could save far outweighs the cost of such a test. The only lingering questions remain, if it is a large corporate vendor, how does the check get processed? Is the check done on the company itself (something that should be investigated prior to signing any contract) or on the individual who owns the company?


Back To School: Avoid Simple Mistakes & Keep Your Record Clear

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

As we mentioned last week, bad credit can be a big deal. Not only does it prevent you from getting those much needed loans for school, but when you've finally completed school and graduated, your job opportunities will be slim as a result.

So, it's very important to either not get a credit card or keep yourself to one card only. Credit companies love college students. Most students have a balance of over $3,000 and will graduate with a significant amount of high-interest debt. Watch how much you put on the card and be sure to pay your monthly dues, you'll need a job to help pay the balance!

Don't be enticed to spend any "leftover" money from student loans. The money isn't really leftover. You are already racking up interest you will have to pay back.

Just paying careful attention to the amount of debt you accumulate and of course, paying it back, will yeild postive results for you and your future!


Home Care Nurse takes Advantage of Elder

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Michelle Stokes hired Lora Huffine to care for her ailing 93 year old mother. Michelle conducted an interview with Huffine, but decided against running a background check. "All I went on was that she had 24 years of care," Stokes said.

Huffine was found guilty of cashing a check that was sent to the Stokes' household for over $3,000. This wasn't her first offense. A background check would have told Stokes that Huffine pleaded guilty to four counts of a six-count indictment, all fifth-degree felonies of forgery, according to court records. Another forgery case against Huffine in 2000 in Delaware County was dismissed.


Shoplifters Want to Clean Up

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shoplifters in Buffalo, New York have a new opportunity to clean up their record. They can now participate in a special rehabilitation program, The Stop Shoplifting Education Program.

Completing the 3 hour class, in conjunction with 25 hours of community service can walk away with no record of their conviction. According to in-house analysis backed up by researchers from the University at Buffalo, those who complete the course are 50 percent less likely to commit another criminal act than those who do not.

In a survey by Retail Industry Leaders Association, 61% of retail business owners reported an increase in shoplifting since the beginning of this year, and a huge 725 have seen an increase in "organized retail crime" — people who steal larger amounts of goods or larger-ticket items to sell for cash.

The economy is a good excuse, people with far less money and jobs available to them are taking matters into their owns hands. Sometimes even getting back at the business they feel are responsible. However, shoplifting is not a victimless crime, something the program emphasizes.

Shoplifting raises the cost of goods substantially, perpetuating the problem further.


Illinois Children are a Little Safer

Thursday, August 6, 2009

It only seems natural that sex offenders would be banned from operating ice cream trucks, but until recently, in Illinois, they had every right. But a new law bars sex offenders from operating trucks or vehicles that sell food or beverage.

The law was signed into being on Tuesday by Governor Pat Quinn.

The move is good for the children. Many states around the nation already have protections in place. And they don't just stop at sex offenders either, they require background checks to obtain the license in the first place.


Why do Background Checks?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

There was a murderer in a Florida middle school for 3 years, undetected.

Curtis McRae, a 59-year-old school custodian, never tried to hide that he'd served about 15 years behind bars for killing a liquor store manager in the 1970s in a $100 robbery gone wrong. He wrote it on his school district application.

Under Florida law, McRae should have never been hired, but a recent investigation showed that he had inside help, someone pulling strings for him.

Jacqueline Clervan-Harrell "basically circumvented the process for him to come on board," said Darron Davis, Chief of Human Resources. She was also listed as a reference on his application.

Once discovered, McRae was found to have an extensive record, including the murder charges as well as a rape charge. His extensive criminal history ends with a final arrest in 1999.


Volunteers have Shady Pasts

Friday, July 31, 2009

45 volunteer coaches from Mobile, AL received letters of termination after a background check revealed they had criminal pasts. More than 5,000 children participate by either playing or cheerleading in the city's youth football league, which is run through its Parks and Recreation Department, according to city spokeswoman Barbara Drummond. Different city parks field teams in four different age ranges.

All paid coaches have background checks done on them, but it wasn't until recently that they began checking the volunteers as well.

Some of the terminated coaches are angry because their charges are old. They've been allowed to put in for an appeal, but aren't being provided a lot of information regarding the appeal process or how long it might take.

The volunteers often work with inner city children who need the guidance and confidence their coaches have to offer. Jeffery Jones, a candidate for City Council District 2, organized a news conference with Ward and other coaches Friday afternoon. Jones said that the Parks and Recreation Department should reinstate all 45 coaches until the City Council passes a written background-check policy that includes appeal details. Jones said the background-check policy is the most recent in a series of heavy-handed city policies that are frustrating volunteer coaches. Coaches also complained about being fined by the city for tossing the football around with kids out of season, and of a new policy that requires them to get city approval for any fundraiser they want to do.



Bankruptcy Can Cost You a Job

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Many companies that use background checks like to pull a credit report. Many of the positions they are hiring for might require the applicant to have access to cash, or even bank accounts and clients private information. It's an important check to run, the logic behind that practice is that an individual’s ability to manage personal finances gives a clue about his or her overall responsibility level.

Bankruptcy can be a huge deterrant and can remain on your record for years. Know your rights regarding bankruptcy and how it should and shouldn't affect your ability to retain a job.



Obama Administration Cracking Down on Criminal Immigrants

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is driving the changes to the immigration policy that is stalled in congress right now. The changes are primarily aimed at employers who hire undocumented workers with criminal records.

The recent administrative changes include:

  • New guidelines directing immigration agents to target employers who hire illegal immigrants rather than simply arresting undocumented employees.
  • A requirement that all local police agencies deputized to check immigration status and turn criminals over for possible deportation sign new agreements pledging to focus on those who pose a risk to public safety.
  • The implementation of a rule that requires federal contractors to use E-Verify, an online employment-verification program.
  • The expansion of a program that uses government databases during the booking process to find illegal immigrants in the nation's jails.



Bank of America & Fingerprinting

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Last week, the Bank of America publicly admitted to harboring thousands of fingerprints they collect from their customers in a database. They wouldn't reveal the location of the database, or other information about the fingerprints, such as how long they are stored and who has access to them.

Regardless of those details, the idea that any entity has a database filled with fingerprints for an indeterminate amount of time makes privacy advocates and some lawmakers worried.

"The practice goes too far," said state Rep. Neal Kurk, of Weare, cosponsor of a bill to outlaw the practice in New Hampshire. "Even if the FBI is not involved . . . the government could get that information. Not to mention, anyone could hack into that system and access that information."

The "Thumbprint Signature Program" has been in use by Bank of America and several other banks around the country for over 10 years now. It was originally developed to fight check fraud.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts said, "While Bank of America says this measure is an effort to reduce and discourage check fraud, we believe the bank has taken a step that could endanger individual liberties," the statement reads."Fingerprinting of customers is part of a recent trend in the taking and storing of biometric information. While technology is evolving at the speed of light, privacy laws that protect us from abuse have not kept up."



Massachusetts Bill To Limit Access to Criminal Records

Monday, July 27, 2009

Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick is supporting a bill to limit the expansion of criminal records. Records used to be limited to law enforcement, but then access was expanded to include employers and landlords.

The bill would tighten the level of access employers have to criminal records, essentially loosening the ropes that prevent criminals from Massachusetts from finding employment.

Business groups and other supporters of the existing system oppose the changes, saying they limit the ability of employers to screen job applicants.

A hearing is scheduled for Monday at the Statehouse.


Authors Required to Pass Checks Before Reading to Children

Friday, July 24, 2009

Authors across Britain will now be required to register themselves in a national database and submit to background investigations before they will be allowed into schools or classrooms to promote their books to children.

The authors will have to pay a fee to get registered, of 104 euros.

Said author Anthony Horowitz, “After 30 years writing books, visiting schools, hospitals, prisons, spreading an enthusiasm for culture and literacy, I find this incredibly insulting.”

But the government doesn't want to take any risks. The authors are allowed access to children and should be screened. In a time where you can't even trust your child psychologist, it isn't extreme to think an author could have bad intentions as well.


Not all Volunteers have Good Intentions

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Illegal Immigrants with Criminal Records

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Deportations are up 10% in the Pacific Northwest states of Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. 60% of those illegals deported were found to have criminal records, an astounding number.

The threat posed by these immigrants is imminent. Often hired illegally, criminal background checks are not imposed on them. They are working for less than then an American employee is, but the employer also knows less about them. Statistically, a person who has committed a crime is much more likely to commit another. The vulnerability the companies face is enormous. They do not even distinguish between those immigrants with misdemeanor records from those with violent pasts.

Earlier this month, Homeland Security released a list of 652 businesses nationwide that will receive audits of their work force - 26 are in the Pacific Northwest.


Security Guards Test Positve for Steriods

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Four security guards were terminated from their positions for testing positive for anabolic steroids.

The guards were employed at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant. Guards were part of a random drug testing program that tested mainly for Schedule I and II drugs, like cocaine and marijuana. Anabolic steroids are a Schedule III drug and are not typically tested for in average drug tests.

Courtney Henry of Wackenhut said the company began testing some guards for anabolic steroids, a Schedule III drug, "for probable cause." Asked what prompted the tests, Henry said, "We received credible information alleging the SPOs (security police officers) were involved in the activity and tested under our drug-free workplace policy." Use of steroids violates both company policy and Department of Energy policy, she said.


Answers to Growing Questions about Illegal Immigration

Monday, July 20, 2009

Many people argue that illegals come to this country for good jobs, jobs no American wants to do. Still, others say they are stealing good jobs out of deserving American hands simply because they will do them for less.

E- Verify may provide some answers to the perpetual argument. E-Verify is currently required to be used by federal contractors. The program, operated by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration, uses federal data to electronically insure that potential employees are who they say they are. Liberty's offering of the service provides step-by-step instructions, along with archivable Form I9's.

The program is about 95% accurate and that percentage is due mostly to people failing to update the government when they change addresses or change their name after they are married. The appeal process can be somewhat complicated, which is why Liberty teamed with Form I9 for their E-Verify services. The simple notification to the employee informs that person of all their rights and obligations.

As statistics begin to roll in, perhaps Americans will see some answers to age-old immigration questions. Perhaps, those answers will lead us toward solutions.


Sex Offender Residing at Nursing Home Commits Crime

Friday, July 17, 2009

A male resident living at a nursing home in Illinois molested 10 female residents and was removed to a psychiatric facility off-site.

The man had a history of being a sex offender, and residents of nursing homes are now asking the questions, can sex offenders live in nursing homes?

The Illinois Department of Public Health said that administrators failed to protect the female residents from the man. And even though the man was removed from the nursing home, there are reports than another sex offenders is residing there.

In Illinois, the nursing home is required to tell the Illinois Department of Public Health about any resident who is a sex offender and must do a “risk analysis” of the offender to determine whether staff will be able to care for the offender and to prepare a care plan. The sex offender must be placed in a private room and the home is required to tell residents, prospective residents, and families they can ask whether an offender lives at the home.


Las Vegas Hotel & Nighclub Lax on Background Checks

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino has agreed to pay $500,000 find to Nevada gaming regulators for failing to properly police the private club, Prive, inside their resort.

In a settlement with the Nevada Gaming Control Board, Planet Hollywood agreed to pay another $250,000 in a year if changes are not made in the operation of the nightclub, which leases space in the resort. If no additional complaints are filed by then, the $250,000 payment will be waived.

Among other charges, Prive was accused of hiring employees with criminal records. Some employees have been accused of removing drunk club goers and dumping them in the Planet Hollywood Casino without help or supervision. Other have been accused of physically and sexually assaulting club goers.


Bad Credit : No Job

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

When Connie Hall lost her job in March and applied for a new position in accounts payable at another company, she was frustrated to discover she was denied employment due to a repossession of a car and unpaid hospitals bills on her credit report.

"I understand from their point of view," Hall says, "but the way I saw it was, just because my credit score doesn't meet your requirement's doesn't mean I wouldn't do a good job."

Maybe Hall didn't really understand the employer's point of view. Bad credit is a good indicator of responsibility, and in these economic times with so many applicants for one open position, a single blip, or in Hall's case, two blips can cause a lot of damage.

Some companies have reported up to a 25% increase in the number of applicants for one position. Employers have options now, and are turning to automated systems to make employment decisions, rating employees based on aptitude, seriousness, and of course: criminal history and credit report.


Obama Administration Supporting E Verify

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Obama administration announced it will require all federal contractors to run potential employees through the electronic E Verify system.

E Verify is a web based system that operated by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. The system compares information from an applicant's employment eligibility form, known as an I-9, against federal government databases to verify that the individual is legally authorized to work in the United States.

Liberty Screening offers an excellent resource for verifying employment eligibility using the E Verify database.

The decision puts the administration at odds with some Congressional Democrats who believe the program is flawed and burdensome for employers.

"I support greater enforcement of workplace immigration laws, and strong penalties for employers that knowingly violate these laws, but I do not believe E-Verify is the best way to achieve those goals," Rep. Joe Baca, D-San Bernardino, said in a statement.

E-Verify "incorrectly rejects too many workers who should be approved, especially foreign-born workers who have become naturalized citizens," Baca added. "This creates a discriminatory system."

E-Verify has been available on a voluntary basis to employers since 1997. More than 134,000 employers have signed up, and nearly 97 percent are automatically cleared to work, according to Homeland Security officials.

"It is good to see that the administration understands how important it is to protect American jobs from being taken by illegal immigrants," said Lewis, senior Republican on the House Appropriations Committee. "Even though the administration has taken this step, it is important to make it a permanent part of our immigration law."



Changes for Criminals Seeking Employment

Monday, July 13, 2009

While still on the campaign trail, one of the many promises Barack Obama made were he to be elected was to break down employment barriers for those with a criminal record.

According to report from SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, more than 80% of employers perform pre-employment background checks. With growing technological advances, tracking and tracing criminal records has become easier than ever.

  • In 2006, nearly 81 million criminal records were on file in the states, 74 million of which were in automated databases.

  • Another 14 million arrests are recorded every year.

Most employers are unwilling to hire an ex-offender. FCRA laws allow felony records to be reported from the 18th birthday on. Even if person who committed a felony crime at the age of 18 hasn't committed a crime for 20 years they are unlikely to find employment.

Most people would probably agree that there should be some point in time after which ex-offenders should not be handicapped in finding employment. The question is when, precisely, should this occur?

Currently, employers have no empirical guidance on when it might be considered safe to overlook a past criminal record when hiring an ex-offender for a particular job. Employers generally pick an arbitrary number of years for when the relevance of a criminal record should expire: five or 10 years, for example. It goes without saying that different types of employers will have different sensitivities about the potential employee’s criminal record. Those serving vulnerable populations like children and the elderly would be particularly sensitive to a prior record involving violence, while a bank hiring a teller would be particularly sensitive to property crimes. A hiring crew for a construction company might be far less sensitive to most prior records.

A huge study is being funded to test exactly when the turning point for criminal offenders exists. Though the study is ongoing, preliminary results are profound. Criminals have been found to significantly lower their probability to commit another crime, the probability can get as low as an average citizen who has never committed a crime.

The study can be found here.


New Law For Sex Offenders

Monday, July 6, 2009

Under current law, young sex offenders do not garner as much attention as older offenders do. Their photos are not currently added to online databases, due in large part to their positive response to intensive rehabilitation therapy efforts.

Tim, 19, sexually abused an 8-year-old girl in Chicago five years ago, and his name was logged onto a state registry for juvenile sex offenders. Tim has been rejected for employment by several companies, including military recruiters. He was also rejected after submitted a college application.

University of Oklahoma psychologist Barbara Bonner says ample evidence suggests treatment works for young sex offenders. Studies have found that 5 to 14 percent of those who receive counseling commit another sexual crime. But a new federal law to be inacted in July 2010 will require states to post juvinelle sex offenders photos on their websites for at least 25 years, making it more difficult for them to function in society.


Hiring Mistakes Cost Companies

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A recent survey by Occupational Health and Safety outlines the trouble hiring mistakes can afford small to mid size companies. Three out of four employers say they've hired one employee they wish they hadn't. Twelve percent of those respondents say that hiring mistake alone cost them about $10,000!

"The businesses we talk to say they are seeing more individuals lying on their résumés or exaggerating their skill sets in order to get scarce jobs. In a down economy, small business owners must be especially vigilant when they bring on new employees," says SurePayroll President Michael Alter.

Most mistakes are being made by negligent or poor hiring decisions. Skipping crucial steps along the way during the hiring process cost these business big:

  • "We hired an employee without doing a background check, and then I caught her stealing."
  • "We rely mainly on a strong 'gut feeling' to determine if the candidate seems qualified and references check out."
  • "Our hiring errors have been largely due to time constraints--we needed to fill a position fast and quickly chose what appeared to be the best applicant from resumes received."

"For small business owners, the psychological and economic strain of making a hiring mistake can be a massive burden on the company," Alter says. "What's more, these kinds of hiring mistakes can be reduced or avoided altogether by implementing proper precautionary measures. Investing in pre-employment screening services is worth the small upfront investment."


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