Highlight on Healthcare Background Checks: Avoid Negligent Hiring Suits

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The best protection against negligent hiring lawsuits is a policy of due diligence on each applicant that approaches your company. The healthcare industry is particularly vulnerable to negligent hiring lawsuits because they are held liable for any illegal act conducted by their employees. Managers and supervisors can even be held personally responsible for the acts of those they manage and supervise.

If an individual in a healthcare facility is injured physically or financially by the criminal, violent, or negligent acts of an employee they may legally pursue a negligent hiring lawsuit against the employer. Punitive damages from such a lawsuit can range well into a six-figure settlement. Negligent hiring suits that are successful demonstrate:

  • An employment relationship existed at the time of injury
  • As a result of the relationship, the employee and the injured party met
  • Both parties had a right to be where they were at the time of injury
  • The employee was unfit or incompetent and posed a reasonable risk to the public
  • The employer knew or should have known the employee was unfit
  • The employee caused injury
  • The employer’s negligence in hiring was the proximate cause of injury

Utilizing background checks is one way to prevent negligent hiring from happening in the first place. A recent survey by SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) indicates that 53% of job applications contained false information and 10% conceal criminal history.

At minimum, conducting a criminal background
in all counties in which an applicant has lived for at least the last seven years. Verifying licensure, employment and education are extremely valuable in the wake of public reports of education fraud on resumes.


North Carolina Focuses on Background Investigations

Friday, February 20, 2009

North Carolina has been experiencing a boom of business development. With the economic crisis, it seems more and more of the business in the NC state are looking to protect what assets they have left by finding legitimate background screening companies.

It came to our attention at Liberty that the highest demand for background checks is coming out of Charlotte. In response to that demand, Liberty has recently hired Jenny Johnson, a national sales executive out of Raleigh, NC.

Jenny represents an asset to Liberty Screening Services as our representative in North Carolina and in the East Coast. With over 7 years of background screening experience, we are confident in Jenny's capabilities to represent our company and our products.

Jenny is an active member of the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, the Society of Human Resource Management, and the Raleigh-Wake Human Resource Management Association.

On a personal note, it is Jenny's cheerful and ever-smiling disposition that is one of her most valuable contributions to our company. We are happy to introduce her and welcome her to our team.


E-Verify Proposal Dropped from Stimulus Package

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stripped from the recently signed stimulus package, the E-Verify mandate would have required all employers using federally mandated funds to run their employees through the E-Verify program. Just before the bill was given to President Obama, the mandate was stripped.

E-Verify would have been an excellent assurance that jobs that are available are given to legal, authorized workers. In these hard times, it is hard to believe more protections for American jobs were not considered more seriously.


Social Networking and Employment: Reasons to Beware

Thursday, February 12, 2009

If an employers asks in your application you what your ethnicity is, religion or age they face a barrel of troubles. These questions and questions like them are grounds for discrimination lawsuits and are not appropriate to ask, and especially to act upon. No employer has the right to make a hiring decision based on the answers to questions like these.

But these questions and questions like them often do come into play when making hiring decisions. There are laws and protections designed to keep the playing field fair when it comes to job competition, but let's face it, recruiters can't help themselves. Which is why some 40% of employers turn to social networking websites like Facebook and Myspace to aid their "decision-making."

Most important, of those hiring agents that do look at the sites a huge 80% use what they find there to make hiring decisions!

Currently, there is no specific prohibition, law, or protection that says employers can't use social networking to make hiring decisions, but that doesn't mean there aren't dangers to using them.

State and federal discrimination laws do discourage using "too much information." Once you find information out, it is hard to backtrack and erase it from memory. If you discovered a serious and chronic health problem plagued your latest applicant and then denied them the job, they have grounds to questions the reason for the denial. If you can't offer one, expect a discrimination lawsuit on your hands.

Searching an applicants background without authorization is illegal, but if you're searching their Myspace profile, do they need to be made aware? There are currently no laws on the books, but people are taking notice and it's sure to become a hot topic sooner rather than later. FCRA laws do not affect it, but expect to see some action to protect applicants in the near future.

Many states prohibit discrimination against applicants behavior when off-duty.

Some Facebook or Myspace profiles are just for fun and don't really represent the person who owns them. Making judgements based on profiles on which not everything might be true, or information might be skewed is an unfair hiring practice, especially considering applicants are not typically aware they are being looked at.

When making a decision it is important to understand your applicant, but be aware of the dangers of judging their character off their profile on Facebook. The laws are not clear enough to assume you'll be safe doing so.


MySpace Ejects 90,000 Sex Offenders

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sex offenders have long been known to lurk on social networking sites like MySpace, and recent estimates by the North Carolina Attorney General put the number at about 29,000.

After a subpoena by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, MySpace successfully identified 90,000 sex offenders - a staggering number. They immediately terminated the accounts and have begun implementing procedures to keep the numbers down.

Blumenthal said, “That these convicted, registered sex offenders are creating profiles under their own names unmasks MySpace’s monstrously inadequate countermeasures."

Age verification, restrictions against older users searching for minors on MySpace, an an outright ban on sex offenders registering for accounts in the first place are among the measures being taken to stop predators.


E-Verify Measure up for Debate

Thursday, February 5, 2009

As the negotiations for Obama's economic stimulus plan continue on Capital Hill, proponents of the E-Verify system are taking a stand.

E-Verify is a government program that checks a worker's immigration status against the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. Immigration advocates believe using the E-Verify system lowers the rate of illegal immigrants becoming employed. Federally contracted workers, and several states across the nation, are already required to use E-Verify and face steep penalties if they are found to employ illegal workers.

The House version of the stimulus bill includes a provision for all companies or banks receiving funding from the federal government that requires them to participate in the E-Verify program.

But opponents of the provision insist that reporting errors from the SSA or Department of Homeland Security could result in thousands of wrongful terminations and essentially slow down the economy as a result.

However, proponents of the measure believe that any jobs available in the market should go to legal immigrants or American citizens, and using E-Verify will be a tool to insure that happens.


Mortgage Loan Officers Face Stringent Background Checks

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions began a new online program that allows mortgage companies and loan originators to apply for and manage their licenses electronically. Under the Secure and Fair Enforcement Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008, every state will have to participate in the program.

The program seems to make it easier to obtain and maintain a mortgage license, but starting January 1, 2009 fingerprint-based background checks also became a requirement for all new mortgage loan officer applicants. The managing principals for the companies in which the applicants work are also affected.

With so many fingers pointing at the mortgage lenders as the catalyst for the economic crisis we are facing, ensuring that they are the right person for the job.


Making Cash off Criminals

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

One way to make some fast cash during an economic slump: turn in felony criminals!

Crime stoppers has long been known as an organization that offers cash rewards for tips that lead to an arrest or grand jury indictment for felony crimes. In a typical year they receive just over 400 tips that lead to such an arrest or conviction for Crime Stoppers of Ouachita, LA.

Record numbers of tips received in 2008 totalled 578, up 31% and a record high since 2000. Coordinator Jeff Gilbert attributes the rise in legitimate tips to the economic slump. More and more people are willing to give up those they know have comitted crimes so they can pay their rent.

Crime Stoppers, in operation in Ouachita Parish since 1984, gives rewards of up to $2,000 for tips that lead to an arrest or grand jury indictment for any felony crime. Crime Stoppers informants will not be asked to leave their names, will never go to court and all information remains confidential.

Gilbert said a tip that leads to an arrest on a failure to appear warrant could get a $100 reward, while a tip in a homicide case could merit a $2,000 tip.

"I think people are more aware of the organization, and we have done a good job of publicizing it," said Darlene Cusanza, executive director of Crime Stoppers of Greater New Orleans and president of the Louisiana Crime Stoppers Association.

"With the economy the way it is, we certainly expect an increase in tips this year," she said.

Read it here


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