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.


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