Greetings from Atlanta!
Today is the beginning of the rest of my life and the adventure continues with a new location in Alpharetta, GA. I am very happy to be starting this new chapter and to be neighbors with my children. It feels great to be around family.
On the business side of things we are trying to get settled in, but as you would expect things are a bit chaotic. I am optimistic that this too will pass.
We now have two great ways for CRAs to reach out to the HR community.
First, there is our industry leading 2015-16 Annual Background Screening Industry Resource Guide which we will launch at the SHRM Annual Conference in June in Las Vegas. This year we will be distributing the Guide to 30,000 HR Managers (up from 20,000 in 2014.) Take advantage of this great opportunity to reach HR decision makers in the only Resource Guide printed exclusively for the background screening industry. Click here to read about and reserve your advertising space or contribute a sponsored article.
Second, we have just launched our new HR eDirect Mail Service which will make available to you more than 200,000 HR Managers. We are selling our HR email list on a state by state basis. Click here to read about the service. Email me at wbnixon@Preemploymentdirectory.com to try out a complimentary sample of up to 100 HR email contacts.
Also for those of you who are interested in knowing what is happening in the dynamic world of international background screening we have launched our newest newsletter - The Global Background Screener. Click here to see the most recent edition.
As we now start to operate out of the Alpharetta based office I want to pause and thank each of you for your support and patronage. Our location has changed, but our commitment remains steadfast to continue to provide the background screening industry with high quality publications, information, resources and services to help your business thrive.
I hope you have a fabulous day and that God's blessings go with you.
P.S. Y'all come back and see me you here.
IN THIS EDITION
The Bruce Berg Report on the 2015 NAPBS Mid-Year Legislative and Regulatory Conference
Forty exhibitors supported NAPBS this year, similar to the same sold-out number as the last mid-year. Attendance was up from last year's 285 to 341. Last year we had 45 going up on the hill on Advocacy Day and this year we had 55.
Business is up very nicely for most during Q1. While the unemployment rate is no longer falling, there is still turnover and we are needed. CRAs are continually looking for new products/services to add to their product line.
NAPBS has changed representation/lobbying law firms to Akin Gump to take advantage of their strong national level footprint and presence at the State level. We need early warnings on state legislation to try to head off any surprises that might negatively impact our industry. Akin Gump presented a comprehensive status report of their efforts.
The session topics covered a wide spectrum of subjects relevant to the industry. If you missed a session or the conference you can go here to see the conference presentations on the NAPBS website.
It still seems a bit amazing to me how all these competitors get together and build a strong organization, share friendship, help solve problems and get along so well. NAPBS has a great spirit all based on common challenges and finding the best solutions.
Many employers are hesitant to hire people with criminal records, and law from hiring them prohibits some. There is also the very real fear of the legal ramifications of hiring an ex-offender. Businesses are often held liable for the actions of their employees. Negligent hiring lawsuits are not uncommon. I believe a blanket decision to never hire anyone with a criminal past is unnecessary. We as employers and Background Check companies need to move past the notion that "Once a Criminal, Always a Criminal". When doing a criminal background check, an employer's goal should be to look for a pattern of behavior, not one mistake.
Does your company
participate in the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework? It's a voluntary international
privacy program administered by the Department of Commerce that lets
companies transfer data from the EU to the U.S. in compliance with EU
law. To participate in the Safe Harbor Framework, the first step is
for a company to certify that it abides by seven principles: notice,
choice, onward transfer, security, data integrity, access, and enforcement.
But the obligation doesn't end there. A company also has to annually
reaffirm that it's still in compliance. That's why saying you have a
valid Safe Harbor certification - but failing to self-certify once a
year - is a deceptive practice, in violation of the FTC Act.
Legislators in Montana gave final approval to H.B. 342, which would limit an employer's ability to access the personal social media accounts of applicants and employees. The bill now goes to Governor Steve Bullock's office. If signed, Montana would become the most recent state to join the list of 19 states, which limit an employer's access to personal social media accounts. Notably, the proposed Montana law would permit employers to request login credentials when the employer has specific information about the employee's activity that indicates work-related employee misconduct, criminal defamation or the unauthorized transfer by the employee of the employer's proprietary or confidential information, trade secrets, financial data.
Two U.S. businesses
have agreed to settle FTC charges they falsely claimed they were abiding
by an international privacy framework known as the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor,
which enables U.S. companies to transfer consumer data from the EU to
the US in compliance with EU law. FTC complaints against TES Franchising,
LLC, and American International Mailing, Inc. allege that the companies'
websites indicated they were currently certified under the U.S.-EU Safe
Harbor Framework and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Framework, when in fact
their certifications had lapsed years earlier. "These cases send an
important message that businesses must not deceive consumers about whether
they hold these certifications, and by extension, the ways in which
they protect consumers," said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez.
Federal Judge in California Brings Down the Curtain on a FCRA Class Action Against Paramount Pictures
Class actions alleging technical violations of the FCRA against employers who obtain consumer reports on job applicants are all the rage, generating large settlements and headlines. Perhaps bucking this trend, a federal judge in California recently dismissed a putative class action case in its infancy against Paramount Pictures Corporation. The plaintiff, Michael Peikoff, alleges Paramount breached the FCRA by procuring a consumer report without making the required disclosure. The court found that even if Paramount's disclosure did not strictly comport with FCRA's requirement, "it is not plausible that Paramount acted in reckless disregard of the requirements of the FCRA by using this language." The court granted Paramount's motion, and dismissed Peikoff's complaint with prejudice.
Terry McAuliffe has issued Executive Order #41, thereby adding Virginia
to the growing list of jurisdictions (including California, Colorado,
Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts,
Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington,
D.C., and more than 100 cities and counties) that have "banned the
box" and excluded and/or limited the use of criminal background checks
in hiring for certain jobs. While Executive Order #41 does not currently
impact private employers, Virginia employers should begin evaluating
whether the use of criminal background information for employment
purposes is appropriate for their organizations, including whether
the benefits of such practices are worth the risks in the current
Major FERPA Overhaul Under Consideration in U.S. House
A proposed overhaul
of the country's primary law protecting student-data privacy is being
circulated for feedback, offering yet another sign of the federal
government's interest in reshaping the legislative landscape around
this hot-button issue. The "discussion draft" of a bill that would
rewrite the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, was
released by the bipartisan leadership of the Education & the Workforce
Committee of the U.S. House. The bill is intended as a potential complement
to-not replacement for-the pending Student Digital Privacy and Parental
Rights Act, championed by the White House.
New Illinois Laws in 2015: What Employers Should Know
Joining the current
"Ban the Box" trend, the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants
Act prohibits Illinois employers from asking job applicants about
their criminal history until after the employer determines that the
individual is qualified for the position and notifies the individual
that s/he has been selected for an interview. If an employer does
not conduct interviews, then any inquiry into an applicant's criminal
background cannot take place until after the employer makes a conditional
offer of employment. In light of this new legislation, Illinois employers
with multi-state locations or branches should review any "national"
or uniform job applications, especially those completed via the Internet.
Texas a Hot Bed for Legislative Action Addressing the Background Screening Industry
The above information appeared in a recent alert issued by NAPBS with a call to action for background screening firms in Texas to contact their legislators to weigh in on these bills which could have a detrimental impact on the industry.
Virginia Limits Employer Access to Social Media Accounts of Employees and Applicants
1, 2015, employers in Virginia will be prohibited from requiring,
requesting, or causing a current or prospective employee to disclose
the username and password to the individual's social media account.
The new law also prohibits employers from requiring an employee to
add another employee, a supervisor, or an administrator to the list
or contacts associated with the individual's social media account
or changing the privacy settings. An employer taking or threatening
to discharge, discipline, or otherwise penalize any employee in retaliation
for his or her refusal to comply with a request or demand that violates
the new law is in violation of the law. Failing or refusing to hire
a prospective employee for exercising his statutory rights also is
A judge recently
handed down an important decision regarding the application of the
FCRA to one of LinkedIn's search products. The decision comes amidst
a fluid legal landscape for employers and consumer reporting agencies
trying to remain in compliance with the FCRA and provides another
example of a court grappling with how to reconcile new technologies
with existing statutes. The central dispute was whether "Reference
Searches" fit within the FCRA's definition of "consumer report." If
so, LinkedIn may have been on the hook for failing to comply with
the FCRA's disclosure, authorization and other requirements. But the
judge sided with LinkedIn, concluding that reference searches are
not consumer reports under the FCRA.
Claims Background Check Error Ruined Reputation
The City Council is expected to pass a bill that will make it illegal for employers to check job-seekers' credit history. In addition to banning credit reports on a prospective employee, the bill also prohibits employers from asking people what their credit score is in job interviews. "There's just no demonstrated correlation between credit history and job performance, or the likelihood to commit fraud or theft," said the bill's sponsor, City Councilman Brad Lander. Lander said it was decided to exempt only a handful of employers - like law enforcement and positions that could pose cybersecurity threats.
Class Action Lawsuit against Major National Online Retailer Underscores Need to Comply with the FCRA
In a class action lawsuit filed in federal court, Amazon and a staffing firm that provides workers have been sued in a class action lawsuit alleging that the defendants failed to comply with the adverse action notice requirements of the FCRA where employment was denied due to a past criminal matter. The case raises important considerations when it comes to employers that work with staffing vendors. In this lawsuit, even though it was the staffing firm that allegedly failed to provide the required notice process, the case is also aimed at Amazon, which is the company where the applicant would be placed and would likely be working under the direction and control of Amazon. It underscores the need for employers to work carefully with staffing providers to ensure that the FCRA requirements are being followed.
Screening Resources, esrcheck.com
Apple is known
for being secretive and picky about who works on its popular devices,
but now, union officials say, that thinking also applies to the construction
workers. Several construction workers who were hired to build the
exterior of Apple's new campus were ordered to leave the site due
to prior felony convictions. The ban is unusual for construction work,
a field in which employers typically do not perform criminal background
checks. "Apple is always nervous about preserving its proprietary
information, and yet I don't know how this would affect that concern,"
said Michael Theriault, president of Iron Workers Local Union 377.
Banning felons could bring about legal ramifications for Apple, said
law professor, Lisa Klerman.
Medical Marijuana Extracts Approved in Georgia
the 36th state, plus Washington, D.C., to legalize marijuana
extracts to treat illnesses. Gov. Nathan Deal signed the "Haleigh's
Hope Act," which immediately legalized the use of medical marijuana
to treat eight serious medical conditions (the law does not permit
the smoking of marijuana.) The law specifically allows employers to
refuse to "accommodate" an employee's use of medical cannabis oil.
It also allows employers to take adverse action against both on-duty
and off-duty users of medical cannabis under a drug policy. Marijuana
is still an illegal drug under federal law. However, medical marijuana
users may be protected under state or local disability discrimination,
or "lawful products," laws.
Failure to Disclose "Shy Bladder Syndrome" to Employer Defeats ADA Claims Over Firing for Refusal to Drug Test
A retail employee
in line for a store general manager's position lost not only the promotion,
but his job, as well, when he failed or refused to take a test because
he could not provide a urine specimen as a result of "shy bladder
syndrome." The syndrome, or paruresis, makes it difficult for the
individual to urinate in public restrooms. A federal district court
in Ohio rejected the discharged employee's ADA claim and granted summary
judgment for the employer, concluding that even if the employee's
condition was protected by the ADA, he had not shown that he had ever
made the Company aware of it prior to his dismissal, or had asked
for an accommodation.
of potential misconduct can be taxing for any organization. But for
organizations operating in multiple countries, the variability of
data privacy laws around the globe present a special challenge. The
stakes are high: if investigators violate data privacy laws, not only
do they expose their organization to reputational damage and sanctions,
but individuals can also be held personally liable and criminally
prosecuted. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to the complex
challenges of cross border investigations. Data privacy laws across
countries differ too greatly for there to be a one-size-fits-all,
Effective March 1, 2015, the fee increased by $1.50 for name-based criminal record background checks obtained from the Montana Department of Justice - Criminal Records and Identification Services Section increased by $1.50. The fee is now $11.50 per individual for a name check or state fingerprint check, and $13.00 for name check online.
Effective March 1, 2015, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Criminal Justice Information Services Division, implemented a $1.00 fee increase for a name-based criminal record check. The revised fee for a name-based search is now $12.00 for each inquiry by mail or online. The online automated system (MACHS) is also $12.00, but a convenience fee is added.
PRRS is the ultimate public record resource! Subscribers have in seconds all the essential information about how to access public records directly from 26,000+ government agencies and institutions at the county, state and federal levels. Subscriber know all access methods (including if online), indexing and search requirements, restrictions, and fees. The Courts Section informs you when online searching is or is not equivalent to onsite research for most courts. PRRS consists of 7 individual BRB databases. Subscriptions are also offered on an ala carte basis.
Retriever Network - www.PRRN.us
Innovative Enterprises Court Research Team Achieves Industry Certification
Innovative Enterprises, Inc., a strategic partner to the background screening industry and expert provider of court research information products, smart data solutions and ancillary services, today announced that 100% of its in-house court research team has achieved NAPBS® FCRA Basic Certification.
Innovative Enterprises is strongly committed to providing the very best suite of screening solutions, backed by the industry's leading professionals, to the Consumer Reporting Agencies and other professional screeners who rely upon them on a daily basis to build safer workplaces and communities. In achieving NAPBS® FCRA Basic Certification, Innovative's court research team has demonstrated its commitment to navigating the increasingly complex laws that impact the background screening profession and to delivering the standard of excellence that professional screeners have come to expect from Innovative.
"I am extremely proud of our research team, led by our Operations Manager, Sierra Hauser, who accepted my challenge to achieve NAPBS® Basic FCRA Certification in advance of the 2015 NAPBS® Mid-Year Legislative and Regulatory Conference," stated Dean Carras, Innovative's Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer. "Our strength is in our people, and every investment we make in ourselves is ultimately an investment in our customers and in those who rely upon them to make mission critical risk management decisions."
Several members of the Innovative research team will travel to Washington, DC later this week to complete the FCRA Advanced Certification Program being offered at the NAPBS® Mid-Year Legislative and Regulatory Conference.
2015-16 SUPPLIERS TO THE BACKGROUND
Nicole A. Kersey
Managing Director, Kersey Immigration Compliance, LLC
Nicole A. ("Nici") Kersey is an attorney whose practice is dedicated to employment-based immigration, with a focus on the Form I-9, E-Verify, and related immigration compliance issues. Nici represents employers before, during, and after Form I-9 inspections by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), providing practical advice to and serving as an advocate for employers during negotiations and litigation relating to fines for I-9 violations. She is a frequent trainer and speaker on I-9 and E-Verify issues. Nici is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and provides pro bono representation to the spouses of U.S. soldiers and to arts organizations.
The Challenge Question:
Can I require that my employees provide an e-mail
address in Section 1 of the Form I-9?
Yes. I-9 regulations state that all employers must require employees
to complete this field.
The Long Arm of E-Verify Monitoring and Compliance
The latest and greatest E-Verify enhancements for FY2015, include enhanced "data analytics" which enable DHS to closely monitor and prevent potential misuse. Many HR Managers were oblivious to DHS' Monitoring and Compliance (M&C) branch, and all of the associated (scary) audit E-Verify system. Shortly after implementation began the comments were heard from unsuspecting HR managers:
"I thought there was no enforcement with E-Verify. That's why I signed up."
"What happens if I make a few mistakes? Will I then be subjected to an audit?"
"How many audits have they conducted, and how have they turned out?
And like clockwork, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) just published a new report which sheds some light on M&C's recent compliance activity during the past few years and the potential consequences of misusing the system. Have you been contacted by the E-Verify M&C unit and wondered why? Are you concerned about the potential repercussions? Read-on to learn all about this "silent" E-Verify enforcement tool and what it may mean for your organization.
Grab a latte and pull up a chair and join us for a great interview
with Sarah Price, Vice President, Priority Backgrounds.
Sarah smiled as she shared she took some time off to raise her two girls.
Once she rejoined the workforce she spent 10 years establishing their legal division, CourtLogic, as the premier provider of real time NC court data for lawyers and private investigators in North Carolina, we realized there was a need for accurate, timely NC court records in the screening industry. In 2005 we started Priority Backgrounds division to relieve screening companies of the stress of constant AOC and expungment law changes in North Carolina.
She noted that one of the things she likes about the industry is that there are some wonderful people she has met and many of her business relationships have turned into strong friendships. She looks forward to seeing everyone each year at various conferences. Sarah exclaimed "Who says you can't be successful while having a great time? The folks in this industry have mastered that concept."
Changing the conversation to her company she said "We have been retrieving data from the NC court system for 15 years. We are experts in retrieving and interpreting NC court records and are always here to help answer questions regarding clerk's codes, abbreviations, etc. We follow proposed law changes that affect the screening industry and pride ourselves on excellent customer service.
She added "Our
customers will tell you we pride ourselves on customer service. If
they ever have a question about a case disposition, clerk's abbreviation,
etc. they know they can call or email me and I will take the time
to research for them, calling the clerk directly to get an answer
For more information
about Priority Backgrounds or to talk with Sarah she can be reached
at 800-792-4339 or online at email@example.com.
We can help you have a high quality e-newsletter to help nurture your relationship with your clients and attract new clients. Our customized newsletter service will take over your newsletter task or create a new one for you. We can manage the creation of your newsletter for you.
We are constantly researching information to use for The Background Buzz and you can put our research to use for you. Using the information rich content from The Background Buzz (minus the ads and competitors information) we will create a custom newsletter for you.
Use your staff’s time to do more valuable work and save all the hassle of researching or writing articles, formatting and managing all the other ezine tasks with our customized ezine process.
Contact Barry Nixon at 949-770-5264 or at wbnixon@PreemploymentDirectory.com for more information.
Termination of Employment for Failing Random Drug Test Upheld
Where safety is a critical component of an employee's duties, employers' drug and alcohol policies are more likely to be enforceable. The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission recently upheld the termination of employment of an employee who returned a positive test for cannabis in a random drug test. Employer policies, which provide for disciplinary action including dismissal where an employee tests positive for cannabis may, at least in the context of safety critical work, be judged to be lawful and reasonable. Make sure your drug and alcohol policy expressly states that disciplinary action including dismissal will be taken where an employee fails to comply.
A Sniff Too Far? Arbitrator Rules Employer Cannot Conduct Random Drug Searches Using Drug Sniffing Dogs
was required to determine whether Agrium Vanscoy Potash Operations
could require employees to submit to a search from a drug sniffing
dog before they could enter the potash mine. The Union grieved against
this policy, alleging that requiring all employees to submit to the
random search process was "an unjustifiable violation of employees'
fundamental right of 'privacy'." The arbitrator concluded that a drug
sniffing dog is a search that could interfere with an employee's informational
privacy and that Agrium did not have reasonable grounds. Employers
will need specific evidence of a substance abuse problem before they
can require employees to submit to drug searches or testing, even
minimally invasive searches by drug sniffing dogs.
too trusting during the recruitment process and shouldn't take information
at face value, says The Risk Advisory Group. This warning follows
the news that a woman stole £17,000 from her employer after hiding
a previous workplace fraud. The case's judge noted that she had kept
this information to herself during the recruitment process but The
Risk Advisory Group says that deception on behalf of an employer is
not an excuse for hiring a rogue candidate. "It's no surprise that
job candidates will aim to hide details they'd prefer a potential
employer not to know about," said Michael Whittington, head of employee
screening. "But it's a two-way process. Employers need to be aware
of these vulnerabilities when putting people into positions of trust
and conduct thorough background checks."
Disruptive Hiring: Onfido's Technology Checks Out With Top Investors
are increasingly reliant on the services of on-demand contractors.
They need to hire fast, but are often held up by background checking
processes that are bureaucratic, slow and expensive to use. So, disruptive
technology that renders cumbersome processes obsolete will naturally
attract the business of clients, and for the entrepreneurs behind
the technology, the attention and the cash of heavyweight investors
from the worlds of technology, HR and the sharing economy. That is
exactly what Onfido, a tech startup has just done. Onfido's technology
allows the thousands of companies to carry out global, remote verification
on the workers that use their platforms. It can run background checks
on everything from identity checks to criminal checks, overhauling
the cumbersome paper-based process.
working with young children has seen recruiters change how they recruit
and screen candidates, in some cases going through thousands of people
on their books to check compliance. The Department for Education published
guidance announcing 'disqualification by association' late last year
and updated in February this year. This effectively bars people from
working with children under the age of eight if they live or work
in the same household as someone who is disqualified from working
with young children. Lauren Thompson, Classpeople's compliance officer,
said the disqualification by association requirement relies on self-disclosure,
which means recruiters must ask candidates to provide information
about someone who lives or works in their household.
Visit the Job Board for the Employment and Tenant Screening Industry. Here you will find resumes of people with industry experience and employers seeking applicants with experience in Employment and Tenant Screening and related businesses.
2015 Events ( Click Here to View full list of Events ) - Updated Monthly
SHRM State Conferences, visit http://www.shrm.org/Conferences/StateAffilliateConferences/Pages/default.aspx
and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA), 2013 Training Course
SAPAA Training Institute Learning Events, http://www.sapaa.com/
CUPA-HR Conferences: http://www.cupahr.org/
World Federation of People Management Associations, Events, http://www.wfpma.com/events/by-region#quicktabs-tab-view__events__page_3-4
Disclaimer Statement: All information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide professional or legal advise regarding actions to take in any situation. Advertisements are presented for information and marketing purposes only and the National Institute for Prevention of Workplace Violence, Inc. makes no representations for any products or services that are promoted and accepts no responsibility for any actions or consequences that occur as a result of any purchases from advertisers.