Census Workers and the Background Checks

Friday, April 23, 2010

Two job applicants with minor criminal records have filed challenges in court with the Census Bureau and their pre-employment screening process.

They claim they were unfairly rejected because the could not provide court records surrounding their settled cases.

Records are no longer available for misdemeanor offenses committed long ago. The two African American men claim the screening process is racially charged as the majority of applicants with these types of offenses will be black, Latino, or Native American.

The Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau, declined to comment, but their spokesperson, Nick Kimball did state that safety was the reason for the screening process:

"Americans must be confident that if they don't mail back their forms and a census taker must come to their door, we've taken steps to ensure their safety."

The Census Bureau is expected to hire more than 700,000 temporary employees and will use FBI fingerprint checks for the first time.


NumbersUSA Develops Searchable E-Verify Database

Thursday, April 22, 2010

For those of you who are adamant about immigration laws, NumbersUSA recently developed a searchable E-Verify database. There you can locate over 200,000 businesses that currently use E-Verify.

You can use the database to find locally owned businesses who actively use E-Verify to insure their employees are legally authorized to work in the US.

Find the database here!


Department of Homeland Security Unveils New E-Verify Intiatives

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced new initiatives to enhance the web-based system, E-Verify.

E-Verify allows employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of newly hired employees.

The three initiatives include:

  • The streamlining of the processing of E-Verify employer misuse and discrimination claims
  • New E-Verify civil rights and civil liberties videos that focus on explaining E-Verify procedures and policies, employee rights, and employer responsibilities under the program
  • A new telephone hotline to improve E-Verify customer service

For more information


Checking Credit Under Fire

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It is known that retailers acrosss the country lose more than $30 billion a year because of employee theft. Workplace violence costs employers over $55 million a year in lost wages. A whopping third of all employees provide bogus information on their resumes.

It is statistics like these that have raised the number of employers requiring background checks on the new hires.

However, there has been no evidence showing that people with weak credit are more likely to be bad employees or to steal from the bosses.

Eric Rosenberg of the TransUnion credit bureau admits, "at this point we don't have any research to show any statistical correlation between what's in somebody's credit report and their job performance or their likelihood to commit fraud."

Legislators in more than a dozen states have introduced bills to curb the use of credit checks during the hiring process, and as Liberty reported last week, three states have passed such laws.

"Bernie Madoff had a pretty good credit score," said Matthew Lesser, Connecticut state representative. "And yet there is this consistent message that if you have a bad credit score, there is something wrong with you."

However, credit bureaus believe that access to this crucial information is important for the business that wants to protect itself from catastrophic losses and should be used as a piece of the puzzles of an employees overall history, "not the absolute yes or no toggle switch."


Denver Public Schools Investigates their Gardeners

Monday, April 19, 2010

Denver Urban Gardens - a 25 year old nonprofit organization works directly with Denver Public Schools (DPS) to lease over 100 plots along the Colorado Front Range, including 20 public schools in Denver.

Gardeners participating in these programs grow veggies and flowers in fenced in plots of ground on public school land. The gardeners are being asked to undergo a criminal background check if they wish to continue gardening.

DUG coordinator, Jessica Romer sent an email to all gardeners last week saying that "being a gardener on school property is a privilege," and that gardeners are guests and must comply with DPS policy.

"My reaction is disbelief and anger," said Kellie Papish, who with her husband, gardens at Steele Elementary School, "community gardeners are a threat to children? Where did we go so wrong that if you potentially have contact with a child you have to have a background check?"

The nearly $16,000 cost of the checks will be footed by DPS.


DNA Databases and Privacy

Thursday, April 15, 2010

In a relatively new and questionable law enforcement procedure, individuals arrested for a crime but not convicted can be subject to the taking and retainment of their DNA, which is then filed in a DNA Criminal Database, regardless of the status or guilt.

"America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh enthusiastically supported the expansion of the DNA Database, "We now have 18 states who are taking DNA upon arrest. England has done it for years. It's no different than fingerprinting or a booking photo."

Many in the human rights community disagree. The European Court of Human Rights unanimously ruled in 2008 that the UK's policy of keeping the genetic material after the arrestees' release violates their rights to privacy and family life. The UK at the time had stored 4.5 million DNA profiles - more than 5% of the total population of the country - and 1/5 of the DNA information was taken from people with no criminal record.

Advocates of the database expansion argue that including innocent people's DNA protects communities - the idea being that the more information they have the more likely a sample left at a crime scene might find a match that leads to an arrest.

But DNA forensics is an art and science involving complex statistical calculations and careful handling of evidence. The larger the database searched find a high degree of certain, the more complex the results of that search can be.

DNA matching is based on the idea that no two people can share the same genetic profile. But in a 2005 examination of Arizona's criminal database of 65,000-plus entries - more than 100 profiles were similar enough for many experts to consider them a "match."


Massachusetts Unemployed will Continue to Receive Benefits

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tens of thousands of unemployed individuals nationwide are poised to lose their benefits. Congress failed to extend the benefits before breaking.

But because of a state law passed by the legislature last summer, the unemployed in Massachusetts will continue to receive benefits for a temporary amount of time. If congress fails to extend benefits, Mass. residents can expect to lose those benefits on May 2. Nearly 500,000 residents may be affected.

"The extensions we have advocated for are vital to assist people impacted by long-term unemployment," said Jo Anne F. Goldstein, Mass. Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development. "Our claimants needs the financial assistance to continue their job searches - whether for fuel of food or to pay bills. Extensions help people get through the trying period of seeking a new job."


Protect Your Business, Verify Past Employment

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The fact that recent studies indicate that nearly 75% of all resumes contain some sort of falsification and that 89% are downright misleading means that a background check with a resume verification is in order for all pre-employment screening procedures.

An employer's lack of foresight can come back to haunt them. In fact, companies can be held liable for negligent hiring and retention. There can be public relations nightmares. All can be avoided by the due diligence, resume verification and education verification can head off wrongful termination lawsuits, it saves you time and money otherwise wasted by recruiting, hiring, and training the wrong applicants.


Sex Offender Records Permanent in Kansas

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kansas just passed bill HB 2568 that rules any convictions for the following crimes will be listed permanently on the Kansas sex offender registry:

"The attempt, conspiracy, or criminal solicitation to commit aggravated trafficking, rape, aggravated indecent liberties with a child, aggravated criminal sodomy, promoting prostitution if the prostitute is less than 14 years of age, and sexual exploitation of a child."

"Sex offenders commit some of the most heinous acts in our society to many times the most vulnerable. It is critical that these offenders remain registered for the rest of their life in order to better protect Kansas families, and i appreciate the swift work of the legislature in getting this bill passed," said KS Governor, Mark Parkinson.


Fake College Capital of the World - United States

Friday, April 9, 2010

Reports indicate that 810 diploma mills have been identified in the US and there are many more still under investigation.

California is the leading state with 134 diploma mills, followed closely by Hawaii and Washington state.

The report is a result of an 18 month international research project into diploma and accreditation mills.

The focus of the report was to provide employers with valid information about applicants' education to support them in hiring qualified candidates. The ability to spot a diploma mill helps companies avoid potential liability when clearing an applicant with a bogus degree.


Foster Care Agency Terminated by L.A. County

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The foster care agency that allowed a 2 year old girl to be placed with a woman who is now under investigation for the child's death was terminated as a foster facility by Los Angeles County in a unanimous decision last week.

United care oversaw 88 homes and 216 foster children and had been repeatedly cited in recent years as allegations of abuse escalated from choking, hitting, and whipping with a belt. In 2007 a child drowned while swimming unsupervised in a pool.

United Care was responsible for certifying the foster parents and checking regularly on the home. United Care certified Kiana Barker despite her criminal history.

Barker and her boyfriend were arrested earlier in March on suspicion of murder. Their foster child, Viola had been killed while trapped underneath a bed. Barker told investigators that she accidentally struck the child with a hammer while trying to free her. There were multiple bruises on her body and the child's death was ruled a homicide.

Barker had been the subject of five child abuse complaints, including on substantiated case involving her biological child. United Care knew of Barker's criminal record but did not believe it was a problem because she was deemed by state regulators to not pose a danger.


Number of Businesses Using E-Verify Rises

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

In a recent report by US Citizenship and Immigration, 1,000 new employers sign up to access the government program, E-Verify every week. Some of those signing up are following state regulations while others use it to avoid hefty fees associated with hiring unauthorized workers.

In Tennessee, the number of businesses using E-Verify has risen from 380 to 2,7171 in just four years. The state doesn't currently have a law requiring the use of E-Verify and a bill proposed earlier this year to do just that has been withdrawn.

"It really gives you the peace of mind to know that the documents you are getting from new hires are legitimate and were obtained legally," said Rachel Bragg from FreshPoint Tomato in Tennessee.


Prohibition of Credit History for Employment Purposes

Effective immediately, Washington State, Oregon, and Hawaii have enacted new laws prohibiting the use of credit histories for employment purposes including hiring, discharge, promotion, and compensation.

The provides exceptions for financial institutions, public safety offices, and other employment if credit history is job-related and use is disclosed to the applicant or employee.

The law establishes any violation as unlawful employment practice, enforceable through the Bureau of Labor and Industries and civil action.

We recommend our clients consult with their legal counsel prior to ordering credit reports for employment purposes.

For more information about these laws might affect you, it is highly recommended you consult with an attorney. Before hiring or performing a credit check on any prospective employee from these states, be sure you understand the laws clearly.


Dear Liberty....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"I had a great opportunity at a new company a week ago, but I realized the 6 month gap in my employment might look bad on my profile, so I extended the last position I had by 6 months and turned in my paperwork. I am a perfect match, this is a great opportunity, but the more and more I think about it, the more I realize this little lie could lose the deal for me!
What should I do? I lied and it was a stupid thing to do, but I'm not sure how to correct it. I might be able to contact the old company and ask them not to respond to any questions regarding my employment, or I can fess up and tell my prospective employer that I lied..."

Like the many hundreds of applicants who lie on their resumes or job applications, you're chances of doing nothing and seeing where the chips lie after the dust settles AND still getting the job are slim to none. The fact that you feel some guilt regarding this is a good thing.

You are very likely to fail an employment background check with the falsified dates. Even if your old employer agrees to not mention anything is also very likely to end up as a failed employment verification.

You should immediately contact your prospective employer. Tell them you realized you made an error on your application and that you'd like to correct it. Don't offer any further excuses, they will appreciate your honesty and likely not contemplate whether there was malicious intent behind the error or not. Good luck!


USA Swimming to Check Coaches

Monday, April 5, 2010

Recently sentenced to 40 years in prison for molesting young swimmers, Andrew King had access to the young girls through his position as a USA swimming coach for more than 30 years.

The King case exposed the massive shortcomings of USA Swimming and local swim clubs in dealing with coaches who preyed on their young swimmers. The coaches manage to jump from team to team, ahead of allegations surrounding their departure.

Chuck Wielgus, the executive director of USA Swimming said that it is his goal to create a "gold standard program for dealing with conduct complaints and abuse allegations."

Some say Wieglus' attempts are too little too late. In 2005, in a "State of USA Swimming" address, USA Swimming president, Ron Van Pool said that plans for a background screening process were nearing completion. The plan was not adopted until 2006, and placed the heavy burden of paying for the expensive tests on the volunteer boards at local swim clubs.

In the past 10 years, 36 swim coaches have been banned for life from the USA Swimming for sex abuse or misconduct, but the organization doesn't always notify the police.

USA Swimming is looking to implement the following strategies for dealing with sexual misconduct:

  • Anonymous reporting
  • Intense examination of how complaints are made and who handles them
  • How coaches, swimmers, parents, and staff are educated about appropriate behavior
  • Reinforcing to local swim clubs that is their responsibility to conduct in-depth background checks


Department of Homeland Security to Enhance Employment Verification

Friday, April 2, 2010

DHS announced that they are ready with new initiatives to "strengthen the efficiency and accuracy" of the E-Verify system.

They include a new agreement with the Department of Justice to streamline the adjudication process in cases of E-Verify misuse and discrimination.

"E-Verify is a smart, simple, and effective tool that helps employers across the county maintain a legal workforce," said Secretary Napolitano. "The initiatives announced today will provide essential information to workers about their rights and ensure that E-Verify is used fairly while bolstering the Department's efforts to protect critical employment opportunities."


Wisconsin School Moves Toward Background Checks for Volunteers

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wausau School District in Wisconsin depends on volunteers for nearly all aspects of the education process - school field trips to classroom activities. The district is proud to have some many caring parents and members of the community willing to volunteer to be more involved in their schools.

But allowing anybody access to work with the children means the schools must have strong mechanisms for screening and checking on all the people who will be working directly with students.

Wausau School District means to perform background checks on classroom volunteers. Though these checks are no a foolproof way of protecting the students, they're a prudent additional layer of security.

"Volunteers in our schools are important," said co-Assistant superintendent Bruce Anderson. "We value their role, and balance that by having everyone who is in contact with children have clearance through a background check."


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