NAPBS Goes International

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) has approved their first international affiliated chapter, NAPBS Asia-Pacific (APAC). The APAC region By-laws were approved by the NAPBS Board of Directors on Friday, September 17, 2010 and the NAPBS membership approved the chapter affiliation in January 2011.

NAPBS started their global outreach in October of 2007 when it formed an International Committee. Robert Capwell, Chief Knowledge Officer, Employment Background Investigations, Inc. (EBI) and Barry Nixon, COO, were appointed Co-Chairs of the International Committee and led the initiative to forge relationships with employment background screening, investigation and vetting firms around the world. The goal of the International Committee was to explore the feasibility of establishing a worldwide network of employment background screening firms, to promote the development of guidelines and standards for the industry and to promote the growth of the overall background screening industry. Barry Nixon stated “this historic achievement was made possible because of the leadership, hard work and commitment of the APAC Steering Committee comprised of Wayne Tollemache, Executive VP Asia Pacific Region, First Advantage, Nick Wright, Director, IDS Group, and Nobby Nazareth, Chairman & Managing Director, Evaluation India Private Limited and the staunch support of the NAPBS Chairpersons from the beginning of this effort.

The Canadian and European Steering Committees are close to submitting their applications for becoming affiliated chapters of NAPBS shortly.

Europe Background Screening Firms Form NAPBS International Chapter

The European Steering Committee representing background screening firms in Europe submitted their application to form an international chapter of NAPBS shortly before the recent NAPBS Annual Conference. The NAPBS Board approved the application at the conference which means NAPBS now has two international chapters including APAC and Europe. The Canadian Steering Committee reported that they will be submitting their application soon. Also Nadine Lecomte, VP Preemployment Solutions – HR, Garda, has been appointed as Chair, Canadian Steering Committee.

Much work remains to be done to put the international alliance together and we are looking for people with knowledge and interest to assist us in this endeavor. To contribute your expertise, contact:

Bob Capwell at or
Barry Nixon at

Worker Screening Overseas is Limited

The background screening industry in the United States is a relatively unregulated multibillion-dollar sector that has no comparable foreign counterpart. U.S. based employers with screening policies designed to meet their domestic needs and the U.S. legal framework face a completely different reality when they move abroad. Particularly in the European Union and increasingly across the developing world, a job applicant’s right to privacy trumps an employer’s right to collect information about a potential employee. In many overseas locations, employers are not plagued by the same levels of employee theft and fraud, workplace violence, or even personal bankruptcy and debt that prompt high levels of screening in the United States. As a result, criminal background checks and even credit checks are limited, if allowed at all.

“The negligent hiring concept is a very U.S.-centric risk,” says Andrew Boling, partner at Baker & McKenzie, “so screening issues abroad are not as grave as in the United States.” Despite emerging background screening laws abroad, Boling sees a trend toward adopting the more restrictive approach to screening that is common in Europe rather than the more unregulated U.S. approach.

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The Number Of Embellished CVs Is On The Increase As Competition For Jobs Intensifies

According to Kroll Background Screening which is owned by HireRight, reports a 115% increase in CV discrepancies in the past 12 months. More than two-fifths (42%) of CVs it screened in 2010 contained some form of inconsistency – nearly double the 19% it found to have problems in 2009. The most popular areas job hunters lied about were their employment history (41% of inconsistencies) and their education (19%). Only 4% lied about directorships held, while 2% made up that they held a professional qualification.

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Looking for Trouble

One of the issues in policy making these days is whether employers can or should reference-check candidates by accessing their social media profiles – commonly LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Most of the debate focuses on the legal issues, yet the fundamentals of why we conduct references and whether using social media in a hiring decision is a good idea in the first place, have been left untouched. At its basic level, conducting a reference is done to see that the CV and interview stories check out and to get evidence of competencies from previous employers. It is true that checking out someone’s LinkedIn profile would possibly highlight discrepancies, but a devious candidate probably would have falsified both their application CV and LinkedIn profile equally. Some are questioning why we would go out of our way to look for extraneous hints from their personal life, when it is the business context we should spend time exploring. The point is that a good reference is not an FBI check to discover embarrassing secrets. It may be time for us to accept that people at work are not necessarily the same as they are at home or on the sports field for that matter, and that this is OK.

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World Health Organization Says Alcohol an Overlooked Killer, Calls for More Action

Alcohol is “the world’s third largest risk factor for disease and disability,” and is responsible for nearly four percent of deaths worldwide — more than AIDS, violence or tuberculosis — according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2011. More must be done worldwide to combat alcohol’s negative impact on health, WHO said in the press release. Alcohol is a “causal factor in 60 types of diseases and injuries and a component cause in 200 others,” and is “associated with many serious social issues, including violence, child neglect and abuse, and absenteeism in the workplace,” according to the report on global alcohol consumption.

“Many countries recognize the serious public health problems caused by the harmful use of alcohol and have taken steps to prevent the health and social burdens and treat those in need of care. But clearly much more needs to be done to reduce the loss of life and suffering associated with harmful alcohol use,” said Dr. AlaAlwan, WHO Assistant Director-General for Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health.

Worldwide alcohol consumption averaged 6.13 liters of pure alcohol per person in 2005 and 9.4 liters in the United States. Although drinking is common, the majority of people do not drink, according to WHO. In 2005, almost two-thirds of women and nearly half of all men abstained entirely from drinking.

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Caution Urged When Addressing Drug Issues 

Social media and blurry work/life boundaries mean employers can learn a lot about employees’ out-of-work activities, but employment lawyers warn they should be very cautious about addressing them. One of the most important things to remember when faced with an issue such as drug use is that the courts don’t like employers delving into an employee’s personal life where it is not affecting the workplace. If an employer is going to concern itself with an employee’s drug or alcohol use, there really needs to be a nexus or a link to the employment. Any action taken by an employer should focus on performance (including misconduct), or safety. If an employee is regularly arriving at work late, or not completing their allocated tasks on time, employers should deal with them as they would any other under-performing employee. However, if an employee is attending work under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and they’re inhibited from performing their duties, the employer can simply deal with that as a misconduct issue. Before taking any action about drug use, employers should check their policies, and employees’ awards or agreements, to ensure they comply with any relevant provisions.

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International Recruitment Drops

International recruitment has fallen, according to the latest Antal Global Snapshot. The snapshot shows current hiring across the globe fell from 57% in September to 50% now. But the number of organisations intending to cut headcount had dropped by 7% to 16%, indicating that the dip in recruitment activity is largely down to companies retaining their staff.

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Manpower Employment Outlook Survey – Global

Employers in India, Brazil, Taiwan and Turkey report the strongest third-quarter hiring plans, while those in Spain, Greece, Italy and Ireland report the weakest—and only negative—hiring forecasts. The hiring pace is expected to improve from three months ago in 20 of 39 countries and territories.

Regionally, employers in the Asia Pacific region report the most positive Net Employment Outlooks. Indian employers continue to anticipate the most optimistic hiring environment among all of the countries and territories that participate in the survey. Hiring intentions are positive in all eight countries and territories. However, employer demand for talent is marginally weaker from three months ago in five of eight Asia Pacific countries and territories surveyed.

In the Americas, employers in all 10 countries report positive third-quarter hiring intentions. Opportunities for job seekers are expected to remain relatively stable or improve in eight of 10 countries, year-over-year. The conservative hiring Outlook in the U.S. is unchanged quarter-over-quarter but improves slightly from last year at this time.

In the EMEA region, employers report positive hiring intentions in 17 of the 21 countries surveyed with individual Outlooks improving in 13 of 21 countries from three months ago and year-over-year. Similar to the second quarter, regional hiring plans are strongest in the Eastern European countries of Turkey and Romania and weakest in Spain and Greece.

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Manpower Report Finds Positives in Global Market Outlook

According to the Manpower Global Employment Outlook Survey for the fourth quarter of 2012, employers in the world’s seven largest economies report that their hiring levels will remain positive through the end of 2012. The survey found that businesses in 22 labor markets around the globe expect to have improved or relatively stable hiring plans for the final three months of 2012 when compared to the previous quarter. But hiring will be at a slower pace when compared to the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first nine months of 2012. Although the pace of hiring is expected to weaken in 26 markets compared to the same period in 2011, the overall hiring outlook for most labor markets included in the survey remains positive.

“If the uncertainties of the debt crisis in Europe, a slowdown in China, the U.S. presidential election and health care

costs keep building, we will see the global labor market’s slow, steady hiring mode shift to a pause,” said Jeffrey A. Joerres, chairman and CEO of ManpowerGroup, in a press release. “I think that we’re seeing the beginning of that in the data for India with employers not shedding staff, but downshifting hiring until they see more positive signals. On the other hand, in the U.S., employers remain confident enough to maintain the same steady hiring pace seen over the past year.”

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International Assignments on the Rise

Nearly half of the multinational companies responding to a recent survey expect to increase their international assignments through 2014, despite the high costs involved for such assignments. Towers Watson, a global professional services company and Worldwide ERC, a workforce mobility group, conducted the online survey with 113 respondents from September 2011 to January 2012. They then supplemented the report with interviews from some of the companies for its 2012 Global Talent Mobility Study, released in July 2012.
U.S.-based companies led the way in the number of multinationals expecting to increase the number of their traditional international assignments (54 percent), followed by Asia-based companies (43 percent). Traditional, long-term assignments generally last one to five years and short-term assignments less than a year, according to a Towers Watson spokesman. Organizations headquartered in Europe were more cautious in their expectations over the next several years, with only 26 percent planning to increase such assignments and 40 percent expecting to decrease the number of employees they will send on international assignments.

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CareerBuilder Releases 2013 Job Forecast for the 10 Largest Global Economies

CareerBuilder’s first annual job forecast for the 10 largest world economies tells a tale of both confidence and caution. Brazil and India are voicing the greatest confidence with more than two-thirds of employers in these markets planning to add full-time, permanent headcount in 2013. Italy is the least optimistic, housing more employers who expect to decrease staff than those who expect to hire.

“The job outlook presents varying degrees of growth and deceleration as governments and businesses strive to rebuild and expand and deal with large deficits,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. “Hiring activity in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) is projected to be significantly higher than other markets while recruitment in Europe remains sluggish as leaders struggle to resolve a debt crisis that has global implications. The overall hiring picture is improving, but companies will remain watchful as they navigate headwinds and maneuver through somewhat precarious economic terrain.”

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive© from November 1 to November 30, 2012, included more than 6,000 hiring managers in countries with the largest gross domestic product.

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KPMG Global Study Reveals That Senior Managers ‘Committing More Workplace Fraud’

Senior managers are increasingly committing fraud as ‘red flag’ warning signs are “missed and ignored”, research from KPMG has revealed. Company bosses were the culprits of nearly a fifth of workplace frauds (18 per cent) compared to 11 per cent in 2007, according to analysis of 348 white collar crimes between January 2008 and December 2010 across 69 countries. Criminal activity among managing directors and chief executives had increased much more sharply to 26 per cent over the four year period from 2007 to 2011, the research showed. Richard Powell, KPMG’s EMA forensic investigations network lead, said previous research has shown that corporate fraudsters are typically male and aged between 36 and 45 years old, with 41 per cent falling into this category.

The report ‘Who is the typical fraudster?’ found that often fraudsters will work in finance (32 per cent), and have more than 10 years experience. Over half (53 per cent) work either in a senior management role or a board role. These crimes together accounted for just over 50 per cent of the 348 cases examined. “In the UK, the survey showed an even higher proportion of fraudsters who had worked for their employer for more than 10 years (57 per cent), with 50 per cent in senior management or board roles,” Powell added.

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Privacy: Laws Play Catch-up with Online World

Companies suffering from a breach of sensitive data or mishandling customer information are becoming commonplace and because of this, online privacy is a central issue for businesses in every industry. Policymakers around the globe have begun introducing new privacy laws and have become stricter about those already on the books. The rules differ widely from country to country, with varying degrees of enforcement, making it difficult for businesses to organize compliance, especially those operating in multinational markets. Proactively protecting privacy is crucial to a business’s success and security and RSA (The Security Division of EMC), lists three key steps to securing data: 1) taking an inventory of what needs to be secured; 2) secure this information through access controls, encryption, etc.; 3) make sure there is ample documentation of the security systems in place, known as “governance risk and compliance.”

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International Personal Privacy Compliance for Global Staffing Directors

The responsibilities and obligations of employers under European Data Protection Directives and the UK Data Protection Act can trigger a lot of issues when working in a global marketplace. When handling and transferring employee data from the EU to third countries such as the U.S., companies are required to identify and implement a legal basis for such transfers. Employers operating in the EU that collect or process personal information without adhering to member state laws or that transfer personal information from the EU to a country without adequate protection or a relevant exception, may incur substantial legal liability. 

Effective management of overseas data privacy, HR policies related to international applicants, and security involves a multi-disciplinary approach involving policy development, legislation, technology and business processes in order to fully understand data protection and privacy issues. In addition, HR data management is a process that must include a comprehensive Human Resource Data Privacy Management Plan for responding to the constant changes of both internal and external factors.

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Data Protection Laws of the World Handbook

In April DLA Piper published the first edition of the Data Protection Laws of the World Handbook 2011/2012 (“the Handbook”).

The Handbook offers a high-level snapshot of selected features of national laws as they currently stand in 58 jurisdictions across the world. It is intended to provide a quick overview of features of data protection law that are often of greatest practical significance to businesses, such as international data transfer restrictions, security obligations and breach notification requirements. Also included is a section on enforcement, as this is always an important consideration in assessing the risk presented by any jurisdiction.

The Handbook has been prepared utilising extensive international coverage of both DLA Piper and other law firms, whose details are set out in the Handbook.

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Privacy in the Global Village

In the ever-changing world of privacy and data protection, global diversity is proven every day by fascinating developments taking place in every corner of the planet. At the same time, a common pattern can be seen in many of those developments: their attempt to strike the right balance between the exploitation and the protection of the most valuable asset of our time. The most veteran jurisdiction in this area of law in Asia, Hong Kong, has just had a revamp of its 15-year-old Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, which toughens the existing regime. In South Korea, the Personal Information Protection Act has only been in force for a few months but is already being branded as the toughest in Asia. The rest of Asia is not standing still either as countries like Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines are also making progress in this area. This particular issue is one that concerns global organizations seeking to adopt a coherent and consistent methodology for compliance in respect of data flows. The European approach to international data transfers is intimidating to say the least, so it is understandable that those organizations that are investing in programs that want to take advantage of that solution on a truly global scale.

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Canadian, German Data Protection Watchdogs Join Forces 

The German and Canadian data protection commissioners have signed an agreement that aims to ensure people’s digital privacy will be better protected if data travels across borders via the Web. International cooperation could help put companies like Facebook and Google on a privacy leash. Both countries will inform each other about important events and complaints and will cooperate on specific cases. Peter Schaar, the German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, said international cooperation is needed in cases dealing with companies like Google and Facebook. The Canadian government also highlighted the importance of coordinated privacy protection in the age of the Web. Both data protection agencies are striving to expand their coordination with counterpart agencies around the world. Canada and Germany plan to discuss extending their cooperative agreement to more countries.

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Francophone Regulators to Adopt BCR-style Framework in 2013

During their 6th Annual Meeting, the Association of Francophone Data Protection Authorities (AFAPDP) considered proposals for a framework for international data transfers between French-speaking nations. Members have requested additional time to assess the proposals, therefore adoption is postponed and should occur no later than at the next annual meeting or by the end of 2013. The documents are largely based on the Binding Corporate Rules (BCR) model developed at European level, supplemented by an agreement of cooperation between the francophone data protection authorities. “A francophone domain of data protection is in the process of being established [which] should lead us to the adoption of a framework and a cooperation mechanism to regulate the international transfer of data within the francophone space,” said Jean Chartier, President of the AFAPDP and the Quebec data protection authority. “One of the main aims of the AFAPDP is to bring together all francophone countries concerned with the question of data protection and encourage the governments, especially those in Africa, to enact data protection laws.”

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APEC and EU Bodies Discuss Regional Interoperability

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) announced that Mexico has become the second formal participant of the APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) System. APEC economic leaders first endorsed the CBPR in November 2011 with the aim to promote region-wide privacy policy compatibility, ensure consumer protection, and lower regulatory compliance costs. Mexico’s participation follows the U.S., which was announced as the first formal participant in July 2012. The U.S. has indicated that it is expecting its first application from an organization seeking certification as an APEC CBPR accountability agent. Some believe that a lack of a ‘culture of privacy’ in countries such as Mexico could slow down implementation of the CBPR system. Paula Bruening, Vice President of Global Policy at the Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton & Williams, says the APEC has made remarkable progress towards making practical implementation of cross border privacy rules in the region a reality. She also noted that the APEC Data Privacy Subgroup also discussed CBPRs for processors.

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How to Implement a Cross-Border Human Resources Policy 

In this era of internationally aligned business operations, multinational headquarters launch many different types of cross-border human resources policies. While drafting a cross-border human resources policy may be a challenge, legally implementing a global policy across multiple jurisdictions is an even bigger undertaking. Six legal issues should be considered when implementing a headquarters-driven HR policy locally. These issues include: repealing or aligning existing policies and work rules; creating one global policy, a “rest-of-the-world” version, or a local version; dual employers or cross-border policies on foreign affiliate entities only, consultation with a company’s own foreign management-side labor liaisons that discusses strategy and timing; foreign translation requirements; acknowledgement from all employees showing they have read the policy and are willing to comply or personal distribution of a new-cross border policies by HR staff.

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