When Your Background Report Contains False Information

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Every system is prone to error, and the US court system is no exception. On occasion here at Liberty, we receive distressed phone calls from applicants whose failed background checks cost them their new jobs but they have not committed any crimes.

The woman in the video below, Julia Hernandez, experienced the same situation. Watch the video for information on how to clear the record, and to see the negative effects of such an error:


Drug Tests for Food Stamps

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A new bill is set to take effect in the state of Texas in September 2009. The bill requires that all applicants undergo a mandatory drug test for food stamps. Any test that is returned positive for illegal substances or for un-prescribed prescription drugs will disqualify the candidate for food stamps, making them ineligible for 1 year.

As many more Americans are losing their jobs, there is good indication that there will be a rise in demand for food stamps. Using tax dollars to supply them, its nice to know that there will be some accountability for those who apply for them.


Indiana Senator Earline Rogers revives bill to help those with criminal pasts.

Friday, January 23, 2009

State Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, doesn't think a mistake has to plague someone forever. Rogers has revived a bill that was sponsored in the past by the late Sen. Anita Bowser, a Michigan City Democrat.

The legislation would provide the expungement of criminal records based on particular circumstances, meaning minor criminal charges or victimless crimes could be removed from an individual's criminal record.

The individual would have to apply to the court in which they were sentenced to have the record expunged.

Key to the bill are safeguards that don't allow an individual to have his record wiped clean the day he walks out of prison or gets off probation.

The individual has to wait five years and not have an additional criminal charge pending.

Sen. Rogers believes that because a record follows a person for life, he can have a difficult time gaining employment. And if one can't secure a job to support himself, additional criminal activity is likely to follow. This is a compassionate piece of legislation to help those who have had problems to make something of their lives. 


Timothy Geithner Under the Microscope

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Congress takes the appointment of cabinet members seriously. As seriously as managers and owners take the placement of new employees in their offices, factories, and shops. Just as applicants backgrounds are examined for any sign of trouble, Congress uses a fine tooth to comb through the background of suggested cabinet members.

Timothy Geithner is under scrutiny as he applies for the coveted Secretary of Treasury position in the Obama administration. His appointment was expected to be swift and easy, most of the members of Congress, republican or democrat supported him.

Geithner has long been the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a position unlike any other in the country. Geithner is said to have performed in this role "brilliantly, non-politically, ethically, firmly, and quietly," qualities many have much admiration for.

However, it came to attention that Geithner had not submitted payment for his 2001 or 2002 tax returns until Obama and his team began looking at him for the role of Secretary of the Treasury. He submitted some $30,000 to the IRS after the statute of limitation had already passed.

Geithner admits "These were careless mistakes. They were avoidable mistakes. But they were unintentional," he said. "I should have been more careful." But some members of Congress don't see it as a mistake at all, rather a deep smear on his nearly impeccable record.


Drug Testing Facilities Need Regulation

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Starting a drug testing company is easy. There are no federal regulations and most mis-read drug test results are due to an error in reading at the lab level. Liberty Screening sends nearly all positive results to our MRO who reviews the findings at the lab, but for those who rely solely on the drug testing lab, watch out, nobody is looking after those who operate it.

In a recent report by KFDX3, Steve Cooper, Vice President of S&A Services, vowed to bring legislation to the courts to demand regulation. S&A is voluntarily certified by a federal trade organization. “A person can be working at McDonald's or Walmart today and decide to open a drug testing business tomorrow – and there's nothing to stop them,” Cooper said.

Watch the report here.


Homeless Face Background Checks

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Doing their part to protect the homeless, a shelter in Harrisonburg, VA is running background checks as well as alcohol and drug tests on the many people lining up outside their door. The measure is to protect those who are living a life of sobriety on the streets from the potential threat of those who are not.

The recent cold that's been ravaging the United States these last few weeks have many of the nation's homeless scrambling to save their lives. Though temperatures have moderated somewhat in the last week, Harrisonburg, VA still faces single digits. Executive Director of Mercy House, Twila Lee said the doors are open to anybody, but they must meet certain requirements.

Anybody not eligible for shelter in Mercy House will be accepted at the Salvation Army.


Immigration and Obama

Monday, January 19, 2009

Immigration reform has been a hot topic for the past few years and government programs such as EVerify are working toward ensuring employers are able to remain in top form during audits by the government. As the economic crisis wages on, however, immigration and reform have been pushed to the back burner.

Our nation's capital is gearing up for an unprecedented inauguration for the first black president who promises of change have inspired millions, many questions are lingering in the air. His plate is fuller than any other president inaugurated before him and at the bottom of the piles lies immigration.

During his campaign days, Obama said, "we are a nation of law, as well as a nation of immigrants." His dedication to representing both sides of the issue is clear, what is not clear is how he will change or support policies that are already in place.

Until that unforeseeable time, employers should sit tight with laws already on the books:

• Verify. Complete I-9 employment verification forms for every employee hired after November 6, 1986. Periodic audits are advisable to ensure that the forms are properly completed and updated if necessary.

• Document. Document. Document. Ensure all reasonable and lawful efforts to resolve any employment verification issues are documented, such as a new hire's failure to produce documents within the first three days of work, receipt of social security mismatch letters, or confirmed reports of unauthorized workers. Employers must follow-up to resolve the issue within a reasonable time period, or the employee must be terminated.

• Follow for one, for all. Stick to the same employment verification policies and procedures for all employees, regardless of national origin or citizenship status.

• Keep tabs. Set reminders on priority dates for employees with pending permanent residency applications, and be on the lookout for H-1B filing dates subject to the quota.

• Sign-up for E-Verify. Consider participating in E-Verify to benefit from certain immigration programs, such as permitting employment of certain post-graduates for an increased period of employment authorization


Company Drug Tests with Inadequate Methods

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Marlborough Lines Ltd, a New Zealand utility supplier used ineffective drug testing methods and is now paying the price. A hefty $12,000 because they failed to use an MRO after a drug test revealed that Warren Bush was positive for amphetamines.

After his supervisor reported that he "didn't seem with it," Bush was ordered to take a drug test administered by an industrial nurse. When the results came back positive he was dismissed, due in part to previous warnings on his record.

Bush told managers he was taking sinus medication and requested another drug test. Though the second test came back negative, he was still terminated.

Marlborough Lines has been charged with failing to understand the drug test results or to take qualified professional advice, such that an MRO might provide before dismissing Bush.

Bush was awarded $12,000, a reduced amount from $15,500 for his contribution to his dismissal.


Embezzlement Strikes Again

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hired in June 2008 for Sherwood Inspection in South Windor, CT, Candace Brainard was a full-time thief. Already facing charges of embezzling $40,000 from her previous employer, Rocky Hill, Brainard was hired without a background check.

She proceeded to embezzle somewhere around $12,000 from Sherwood, which they learned about only after the police arrested Brainard. She now faces felony larceny and forgery charges.

"I had no idea. I wish I had," Sherwood said Friday. "Our losses are probably more than $12,000 because we've been uncovering more stuff. We're missing a $3,000 piece of equipment, which she said she sent out for testing. This is really hard on us."

In today's economic climate, of course it is. Business cannot afford to take losses like this. Employee theft is a widespread crime, costing US businesses nearly $1 trillion in losses in 2008. As the economy worsens, should employers have reason to believe they are more vulnerable?

"It may be on the increases in the next few months, but this crime is hard to detect quickly. Usually it's been going on for months of even years before a business realizes it," said Mary Rose Palmese, a veteran prosecutor in New Britain Superior Court. This type of theft is constant in good times or bad, and there is no clear indication so far during this recession of a spike in people embezzling from their employers.

Sherwood acknowledged he had not done a background check on Brainard. He learned of the alleged theft only after a courtesy call from a credit card about a suspicious check. "In the future everyone we hire is getting a background check."


American Public Overwhelmingly Support Criminal Background Checks

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Government research shows that 90% of Americans support criminal background checks for volunteers who work with children and nearly as many report being prepared to undergo such checks themselves.

Last year, a report showed that the red-tape of criminal background checks were considered a deterrent for volunteers. The Commission on the Future of Volunteering pressured for the removal of the bureaucratic barriers. But the Home Office commissioned the poll, finding that 70% said they thought the background checks worked as a deterrent to keep criminals from volunteering. The Home Office estimates that it has prevented 80,000 criminals from working with children.


Clean Up Your Credit Report

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Employers use credit reports to determine if their applicants are the right people for the job. A credit report is not just a reflection of how much you spend, it is reflection of your responsibility level and how much you can be trusted.

So, as the economic crisis rages on, more and more people are thinking about money and how it effects them. Cleaning up your credit report is a good New Year's resolution and here are some helpful tips to get yours in order:

First, get your credit report. Each year, you are entitled to receive one free from all three credit repositories: Transunion, Equifax and Experian. These reports will not actually contain your credit scores but they will give you a detailed analysis of all your active and inactive credit lines. This will help you to track what you've got left to pay off and ensure that you haven't been a victim of identity theft.

If you find an item which you which to contest, report it to the Credit Bureau immediately. If they find that the item you challenge is false or that it cannot be confirmed or denied, it will be removed immediately from your report. If they cannot confirm it, you have the right to submit a 100 word statement that will be included on your report.

Work toward getting your credit in good standing now. As the workforce tightens up for the long haul, you'll be one up on the rung toward getting, and keeping a better job.


Criminal Statistics Tell the Truth about Violent Crime

Monday, January 5, 2009

If you ever wonder why you run background tests, or why someone with a violent criminal past is considered an undesirable employee, the "Homicide Victim and Suspect Analysis Report 2008" is a good reference. The report is a clinical study of violent crime centered on the city of Baltimore, MD.

It chronicles over 300 violent deaths in the city and categorizes them by location and type of death: by handgun in the street.

Of the 107 suspects arrested for violent crime, a whopping 94 had criminal records mostly consisting of drugs, guns, and violent crimes. 36 of those were under probation at the time of their crime.

Of 234 victims, 194 had criminal histories.

If you want to keep violence out of the workplace, keep the criminals out!


Nurses Work in California with Criminal Backgrounds

Friday, January 2, 2009

Many nurses have slipped through the cracks in California. In a review by the The Times and ProPublica (a non-profit investigative newsroom) found that regulators acted late or not at all after being informed that nurses had committed serious crimes. In some instances, nurses were given their license renewals after reporting their own felonies to the California Bureau of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians.

"Obviously the public isn't protected," said John Brion, the assistant clinical professor at Duke University School of Nursing. "If you have a person who's already been convicted and served their time and they haven't even been charged by the board...I would really question what's wrong with the system.

Licensed, vocational nurse Carlito Manabat Jr. is one case. Accused by two patients of sexual battery and molestation while under his care in 2006, Manabat pleaded no contest. He served six months in jail and registered as a sex offender. In February of 2008, he renewed his license, checking the "Yes" box that indicates he has been convicted of a crime. Two years later, the bureau is investigating the matter. Meanwhile, Manabat has been nursing and continues to do so as the case is still pending.

Discrepancies such as this are quite common at the bureau. The investigation revealed that 27 nurses had 3 or more criminal convictions, and 3 had more than 9.

Hospitals and clinics rely on the information provided by the bureau to vet potential new hires. The bureau blames low staffing and received approval last year to hire more staff to handle the demand. Some nurses are fingerprinted, but not all. The only other method of checking up on nurses is to rely on their own integrity. They check that "yes" box if they've been convicted. The bureau is huge and most of the fault is likely administrative, but when public lives and health are at risk, is there really any excuse?


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