Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Background Check Proposed for Employees at Facilities for Disabled

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
When Illinois facilities that care for disabled people hire new staff, they are required to conduct criminal background checks. For most applicants, licenses must be verified.

But many facilities don't have to check whether new hires have ever been cited for abusing children — either their own kids or those living in care centers.

That may soon change as a state panel on Tuesday expressed support for expanding background checks for workers who care for the developmentally disabled.

Read more here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Background Checks, and Their Boundaries

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
OfficeDrop scans paper documents into digital files. Its clients include hospitals that want to archive patient records and a minister with too many hand-written sermons. Prasad Thammineni started the company in 2007 and opened his doors to clients a year later.

THE CHALLENGE Checking the backgrounds of job candidates to ensure that only trustworthy employees handle client documents (without violating candidate privacy or breaking the bank).

THE BACKGROUND Mr. Thammineni, who is 41, left the Wharton School three years ago with a business education and 8,000 pages of notes. Reluctant to bury years of labor in boxes, he scanned the notes into his computer, where he could search them by keyword. When friends started asking him to scan their work, too, the idea for OfficeDrop was born.

Read more here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Is an Employment Background Check Ever Too Invasive?

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Generally speaking, the government can ask for background checks for employees of defense contractors.

But are there limits to what the government can ask? At what point — if at all — does a government query into the drug use history of a low-level employee violate that employee’s constitutional right to privacy?

An interesting question, and one that eight Supreme Court justices were called upon to ponder today down at One First St., N.E. (As Solicitor General, Justice Kagan weighed in on behalf of the government; thus she has recused herself from hearing the case as a justice.)

According to this account by the LA Times’s David Savage, the justices gave a “skeptical hearing” to the 28 Caltech scientists challenging the government’s use of background checks. Caltech runs the Jet Propulsion Laboratory under a contract with NASA. Click here for the transcript of the arguments.

The scientists won at the Ninth Circuit, which held that questions violated their constitutional right to privacy.

According to Savage’s story, the justices all (with the possible exception of Justice Sonia Sotomayor) sounded as if the were inclined to uphold the background checks.

That said, they explored the limits of what the government should be allowed to ask. Justice Antonin Scalia, staying true to his “textualist” method of constitutional interpretation, said there was no such privacy right. “I don’t see it anywhere in the Constitution,” he told Dan Stormer, a Pasadena lawyer who represented the Caltech employees.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito said they would not close the door to all such claims. “Isn’t there some right to tell the government: ‘That’s none of your business’?” Roberts commented.

Alito said he questioned whether the government could ask people to fill out forms revealing what they ate, what they read or whether they smoked cigarettes and to describe their sex lives. “Is that OK?” he pressed Neal Katyal, the acting U.S. solicitor general.

Probably not, Katyal agreed, but he urged the justices to rule that the government can ask open-ended questions of its employees and contract workers.

Read more here.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

U.S. Allowed Terrorists on No-Fly List to Buy Guns

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
The only thing stupider than allowing a known foreign terrorist into the United States may be allowing that terrorist to buy guns.

Current U.S. law allows this happen. It also allows known terrorists on the no-fly list to buy guns.

Perhaps worse still, the U.S. government has approved background checks for watch-listed terrorists to possess explosives in the United States.

From March 2009 through February 2010, according to prepared congressional testimony from Eileen Larence, the Government Accountability Office's director of homeland security and justice issues, 272 NICS background checks turned up individuals on the terrorist watch list. All but one was for a firearms purchase. The other was for explosives.

"One of the 272 transactions involved an explosives background check, which was allowed to proceed because the check revealed no disqualifying factors under the Safe Explosives Act," Larence testified.

Of the 271 firearms-background checks that revealed the prospective gun purchaser was on the terrorist watch list, only 22 resulted in the would-be purchaser being denied a gun. The other 249 transactions were allowed to proceed.

Some of the watch-listed terrorists allowed to buy guns were on the no-fly list. "According to FBI officials, several of the 272 background checks resulted in matches to watch list records that -- in addition to being in the FBI's Known or Suspected Terrorist File -- were on the Transportation Security Administration's no-fly list," Larence testified. "In general, persons on the no-fly list are deemed to be a threat to civil aviation or national security and therefore should be precluded from boarding an aircraft. According to FBI officials, all of these transactions were allowed to proceed because the background checks revealed no prohibiting information under current law."

According to Larence's testimony, presented to the Senate Homeland Security Committee in May, in the six years from February 2004 through February 2010, 650 separate individuals on the terrorist watch list went through NICS background checks because they were trying to purchase guns or secure a license for explosives. Because some made multiple transactions, the total number of attempted gun or explosives transactions involving watch-listed terrorists who underwent FBI NICS checks during the period was 1,228.

Read more here!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cobb to Conduct Background Checks at New Courthouse

MARIETTA – Cobb County officials are enhancing security at the courthouse construction site in downtown Marietta amid complaints illegal aliens are working there.

The new measures, announced last week, include background checks for all workers, county officials said.

“We have a responsibility to the public, the judicial system and the citizens of Cobb County to make sure this site is both safe and secure,” Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren said in a news release. “Our focus is on ensuring that every worker on the site has gone through a complete background check.”

Jobs for Georgians in February exposed that illegal aliens were working on the courthouse, the Marietta Daily Journal previously reported.

“Cobb County has had enough of any perception of illegals working on projects,” the Marietta Daily Journal recently quoted Commissioner Bob Ott as saying. “We need to make sure we are comfortable in saying we only have legal workers working on projects.”

The sheriff's office will be implementing the new security requirements, county officials said. The new courthouse should be finished by the end of the year, according to county officials.

“The county has worked closely with Turner Construction to make sure that all employment verifications required by state law have been met," County Manager David Hankerson said in a news release. “Our Board of Commissioners have listened to the public and made this issue a high priority.

Read more here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

New Efforts to Shorten Airport Security Lines with Background Checks

The stereotype of the business traveler dashing to catch a plane with minutes to spare was long ago retired; 9/11 and unpredictable security lines took care of that. And any hopes that private companies could run faster alternative lanes proved too optimistic after the companies closed down a year ago.

Lines at security at Denver International Airport the day before Thanksgiving last year. A company, AlClear, will run a private security program there.

But there may be life yet in the E-ZPass-style lanes.

A new crop of successors has risen up, and in recent weeks two airports, Indianapolis and Denver, have been named as the first airports to get the revived programs. While the companies’ odds of success this time around remain uncertain, one factor working in their favor may be pressure from members of Congress, business travel groups and some airports for a reprieve from the sometimes lengthy waits at checkpoints.

Legislation is pending in Congress that would direct the Transportation Security Administration, which balked at the earlier private efforts, to support a new registered traveler program for passengers deemed to be low risk.

At the same time, a two-year-old United States Customs and Border Protection program called Global Entry, which allows fliers undergoing background checks to bypass immigration lines returning home at the end of the trip, is getting a lift from a new publicity campaign aimed at increasing enrollments. Global Entry is now at 20 airports in the United States, including Kennedy Airport in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and other large international gateways.

Read more here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

States Stepping Up To Limit Pre-Employment Credit Checks

If you're unemployed and suffering from bad credit, a growing number of states' lawmakers want to remove one barrier between you and a new job: a credit check.

Across the United States, legislators are working to remove employee credit checks as an obstacle to job seekers with poor credit. Based on a survey conducted in 2009 by the Alexandria, Va.-based Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM: undefined, undefined, undefined%), 60 percent of employers said they conduct credit checks on at least some prospective hires. That means if your credit report includes negative items -- such as unpaid bills, foreclosures or even high debt levels -- it could potentially prevent you from getting a job.

That may change. A significant number of elected officials nationwide believe that in a difficult economy, a poor credit history shouldn't be a determining factor for job applicants.

"This is an obnoxious practice that has been excluding a number of perfectly acceptable, perfectly qualified job applicants," says Connecticut State Rep. Matthew Lesser, a Democrat who twice introduced a bill seeking to prevent the widespread use of employee credit checks.

Lesser isn't the only lawmaker fighting to help job applicants overcome poor credit. Since 2007, three states -- Hawaii, Washington and Oregon -- have enacted legislation limiting employers' use of credit information. So far in 2010, data from the National Conference of State Legislatures show that lawmakers from 18 other states and the District of Columbia have introduced legislation that aims to limit the use of credit information in employment decisions. Additionally, an amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act was introduced to prohibit the use of most employee credit checks nationwide. "You see this black stain of bad credit tarnish a lot of communities in my state and, I suspect, in states across the county," Lesser says.

Read more here.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, March 29, 2010

State May Hire Vendors for Background Checks

The state is looking at hiring vendors to assist in doing background checks on companies seeking state tax credits, and it's also gathering information on other states' practices, economic development chief Greg Main said last week.

The steps are among several under way at the Michigan Economic Development Corp. as it revamps processes after the state granted a $9.1 million Michigan Economic Growth Authority program tax break to a company headed by a convicted embezzler.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm last week announced changes aimed at improving state transparency and accountability in regards to MEGA, including establishing a “business integrity verification program.” The program will include requirements that tax credit applicants fill out a questionnaire and submit other documentation.

MEDC President and CEO Main said the questionnaire will be “designed to provide assurance that the key persons in a particular company are upstanding people, that don't have felony convictions, other civil actions in their background that would impugn their business integrity.”

Read more here and be sure to check out and subscribe to our free weekly newsletter, The Round Up, for more news and upcoming events.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lawmakers Look Into Background Checks For Universities

he University of Alabama in Huntsville and the Alabama lawmakers may look into the background check polices of state universities. This is wake of the UAH shooting which left three dead.

The head of the powerful house education budget writing committee says lawmakers are shocked by the incident. "Oh, just devastated. I know kids who go to the school there. Just devastated to hear about the shooting," Representative Richard Lindsey of Centre said.

The accused killer, Amy Bishop, was hired at UAH. Reports are coming out about her past. Bishop shot and killed her brother in 1986 in an accident shooting. Bishop was questioned in a 1993 pipe bomb incident involving a former professor.

The UA system does not expect wholesale changes in their policies."I think it is lesson for all of us in business to say okay, is there something in our policies that needs to be fined tuned or tweaked," said Kellee Reinhart, UA system spokeswoman.

Lindsey says he expects the legislature will demand to know more about security and background check policies at the school. "Absolutely. I think we will look into that issue. We already have background checks for K-12, two year schools. We want to see what is required for four years," Lindsey said.

Read more here

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Controversial App Provides Background Checks On the Go

Online privacy is a constant and growing concern as the evolving landscape of Web sites and services erode the traditional expectations of privacy. A new app from BeenVerified is adding even more controversy to the privacy dilemma by enabling users to conduct background checks on anyone in a matter of seconds from their iPhone.

The Background Check App is free and employers and individuals can use it to conduct up to three free background checks per week via the iPhone. Users, particularly employers who may want to conduct checks of employees, vendors, suppliers, partners, and other parties they do business with, can also subscribe to the BeenVerified service which would grant them unlimited background checks starting at only $8 per month.

In the press release for the app, BeenVerified CEO Josh Levy says "A BeenVerified background check contains information collected from thousands of public records and publicly available data where the average person would not even know where to begin. All of the information found in our reports is already out there and accessible to anyone."

Read more here

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

You Wanna Background Check Me? Well, Be Careful Where You Look ...

With the economy in disarray, employers are finding themselves inundated with job applications.

Increasingly, employers have turned to the use of background reports, such as criminal history and credit records, to assist in narrowing the applicant pool to a manageable level. According to one 2009 survey, 93 percent of the 1,411 employers questioned reported that they conduct criminal records checks on job applicants. Approximately half of those employers reported that they also check applicants' credit histories.

And who can blame them?

For the nominal fee of a comprehensive background check, an employer can get: (1) a glimpse of the person that is not revealed in the employment application (i.e. fiscal prowess, propensity for trouble, driving ability); (2) a potential shield from negligent hiring or retention suits; and, (3) hopefully, a significant decrease in their loss, fraud, and productivity issues.

Unfortunately, these employers are also getting something they did not bargain for. In addition to finding out the nitty-gritty of job applicants' histories, employers are also finding themselves as defendants in large, unexpected discrimination lawsuits brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as well as groups of private litigants.

Read more here

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Program Makes Background Checks Easier in Ohio

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray recently announced that the state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI) and the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) are teaming up to offer convenient, low-cost criminal background checks at local deputy registrar offices throughout the state. The program will use WebCheck, an electronic system that compares fingerprints and demographic data against state and national databases.

“More and more organizations and employers are finding these checks to be an invaluable safety tool,” Cordray said. “The range of Ohioans who must obtain these checks has become vast; from doctors to daycare teachers, from church volunteers to construction workers. Through our partnership with the Ohio BMV, people all across Ohio will be able to obtain a WebCheck close to home, at the lowest possible cost. And that cost will be consistent from one location to the next,” he added.

A state-level or BCI background check through BMV will cost $32, while a federal-level or FBI check will cost $34. Checks run through both databases will cost $61. BMV began offering the checks through more than 100 registrar offices in October, and anticipates adding more offices in the future. BCI used $300,000 in federal grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice to train local deputy registrars and provide equipment.

Read more here

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, November 23, 2009

iPhone apps run background checks on your date

In a move that is sure to make playboys everywhere nervous, Internet company PeopleFinders has created two iPhone applications that let users perform background checks on their potential dates.Read more here

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sarah Palin says McCain campaign made her pay for her background check

Sarah Palin says in her new book that after she and Sen. John McCain lost the 2008 presidential election, the campaign made her pay $50,000 to help cover the cost of vetting her for the Republican ticket.

In her memoir, "Going Rogue," she writes that in the months leading up to her resignation as Alaska governor in July of this year, her legal bills had mounted to more than $500,000. Part of that was incurred combating what she calls frivolous ethics complaints.

But what appeared to upset her most was that about $50,000 of the legal bills was her share of the expenses for being vetted to become McCain's running mate, Palin writes.

Read more here

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Church Background Check Sample Shows 1 in 8 Volunteers Have Criminal Past

he results of a recent sample of criminal background checks on prospective church volunteers show the need for churches to remain on guard in protecting their congregations against workers with criminal pasts.

According to an article posted online at The Birmingham (AL) News, an agency that conducted 5,000 background checks for 450 churches found serious felonies in 80 cases and more than 600 people – almost 1 in 8 – that had some criminal history that may disqualify them from working at a church.

Read more here.
AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, August 17, 2009

Background Check on Authorities Not Always Enough

Police departments and sheriff’s offices say they routinely conduct thorough background checks on applicants before hiring new officers and deputies.

But sometimes that’s not enough.

Read more here.
AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Philly Police Officer Accused of Running Background Check on Obama

Philadelphia police and apparently federal authorities are investigating an officer accused of attempting to run a criminal background check on President Obama, a FOX News affiliate has learned.

Sgt. Ray Evers confirmed that the police are investigating a 5-year veteran of the force but would not identify the officer.

Read more here.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Beware of Employment Scams

As joblessness rises, so does the threat of scams. There are always greedy people ready to take advantage of those who are down on their luck.

“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.

Read more here.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Background Checks Drop 45 AL Youth Football Coaches

The city of Mobile has sent letters to 45 volunteer youth football coaches saying that they could no longer participate in city-run leagues because background checks found that they had criminal histories.

Several coaches decried the move Friday, saying it was another example of the city's overbearing behavior toward a group of volunteers who give up their time — and parts of their paycheck — to help inner-city children.

Read more here.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Port Workers Affected By Background Check Delays

Delays in federal background checks and other newly-instituted screening procedures are leaving thousands of once-productive port workers jobless during the recession, according to a new report on port related employment conditions around the country.

Read more here.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button