Sanoe! (general greeting in Solomon Islands)

I am very happy to extend a sincere thanks to each of you who sent a post card for my granddaughters pre-school contest to see who could get the most cards from different states. Because of your efforts, she won the contest. I am eternally grateful to you.

Wow! The NAPBS' Annual Conference was their best conference ever!

Suppliers we will be announcing the 2016-17 Suppliers to the Background Screening Industry Buyers Guide shortly. Stay tuned for your information packet so you can sign up.

CRAs and international background screening firms the 2016-17 Annual Background Screening Industry Resource Guide will once again be launched at the SHRM Annual Conference and distributed to 30,000 HR Managers. Watch for the announcement on this great way to reach decision makers in the HR community.

Also as you start planning your budget keep in mind our new HR eDirect Mail Service which contains over 130,000 HR Managers. We are selling the list on a state by state basis and it is one of the highest quality list you will find on the market. Click here to read about the service or contact me at to get your sample of up to 100 HR email contacts.

Private Invitation for Accredited Background Screening Firms We will be launching in 2016 a new publication, Background Screening Best Practices: Insights from Accredited Background Screening Firms. This will be a 'one of a kind' publication that will showcase firms that have earned the highly coveted status of accreditation. The publication will be widely distributed to the HR community. You don't want to miss this unique marketing opportunity.

Thanks for joining us this month and may God's blessings be with you.

P.S. Babatana,also spelled Mbambatana is the principal indigenous language of Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands



Employment Screening News
Legal Issues
Alcohol & Drug Screening
Public Record Update
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eVerify & Immigration Issues
Employment Outlook


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The Green Screen: Special Report: Background Checking Providers

Background screening is a $2 billion-a-year industry and has become a ubiquitous process that is tied to avoiding hiring liars, cheaters, violent felons and candidates who do not possess the prerequisite skills or experience. Compliance has become a major issue with the growth of 'Ban-the-Box' legislation, FCRA violation lawsuits and the EEOC's focus on discrimination caused by the inappropriate use of criminal and arrest records for employment purposes.

In addition to having to deal with increasing compliance issues related to background screening, employers also face challenges with the speed and efficiency of the process. In response, leading background-screening providers are automating their processes and streamlining information-gathering steps while making sure their in-house experts stay abreast of changes in national and global regulations.

The companies on Workforce 'Hot List' continue to focus on helping their clients to address these duel challenges.

2015 NRSS Executive Summary

For over twenty years the industry has recognized and used the National Retail Security Survey (NRSS) as a key benchmark for retail loss prevention. This retail security research project studies numerous elements of workplace-related criminality, along with identifying successful security counter-measures to protect people, assets, and brands in the retail industry. Now in its twenty-fourth year, the NRSS is a nationwide annual study comprising the most recent empirical data on retail loss prevention. Retailers surveyed reported an average shrinkage of 1.38% at retail in 2014. This is the lowest shrinkage percentage level observed in the history of the NRSS. There is no other property crime that costs the American economy more than these non-violent offenses occurring in the retail store.

The Hiring Process Tightrope - Tips for Employers in the Senior Care Space to Navigate the EEOC's Guidance on Criminal Background Checks and "Ban the Box" Laws

For employers in the senior living and long-term care industry, criminal history information is a crucial tool in the hiring process. Various state and federal laws prohibit retirement communities from employing individuals who have been convicted of certain crimes involving abuse, neglect, or mistreatment. Despite this, federal agencies and state governments are increasingly limiting an employer's use of criminal history information through constraints on background checks and new "Ban the Box" laws. Navigating these legal hurdles while maintaining employee and resident safety can baffle even the best-intentioned administrators, executives, and attorneys. In this article, we summarize the EEOC's guidance on the use of criminal history information, explain why "Ban the Box" initiatives matter, and outline strategies for compliance.

The Background Check Conundrum: "Manufacturing" a Problem (Pun Intended)

I am a longtime advocate of pre-employment criminal background checks. So I have watched with resigned acceptance as the EEOC, over 100 states and cities across the United States, and other public advocates have fought to limit the use of an applicant's criminal history in all but limited circumstances. Against this "ban the box" tsunami, some employers also have been attacked for not being aggressive enough in rejecting applicants based on their criminal backgrounds. The "Catch 22" has left some employers in doubt as to the course to take. Manufacturers will be well served to review their policies and practices accordingly.

Improper Use of Criminal Background Checks Could Cost You Millions

There is a growing movement to "Ban the Box" that has materialized in various states and local governments severely restricting, or absolutely prohibiting, the use of criminal background checks by employers. Over the past few years, the EEOC has challenged employers for their use of criminal background checks - finding that the estimated 30% of American adults with criminal records were unfairly being denied gainful employment. Lawsuits filed by the EEOC alleging discrimination, as well as class action lawsuits by individuals alleging violations of the FCRA relating to background checks, have resulted in significant settlements. In addition to complying with the FCRA's many requirements, employers must also stay abreast of and comply with constantly evolving and expanding legislation resulting from the "Ban the Box" movement.

Advocate General of the European Court of Justice Issues Opinion Regarding Safe Harbor

On September 23, 2015, Advocate General of the European Court of Justice Yves Bot issued his Opinion in the case of Max Schrems, which is currently pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union (The CJEU). In the opinion, the Advocate General provided his views concerning two key issues related to the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework: (1) the powers of national data protection authorities to investigate and suspend international data transfers made under the Safe Harbor Framework and (2) the ongoing validity of the European Commission's Safe Harbor adequacy decision. It is yet to be seen whether the CJEU will reach the same conclusions as the Advocate General. In the interim, it is likely that this Opinion will increase the pressure on U.S. and EU government authorities to reach agreement on a revised U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework.

Are you OK with the F-C-R-A?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act isn't just about credit. If your company uses background checks in making personnel decisions, the FTC reminds you of your obligations under the FCRA. In honor of Throwback Thursday, here's an unconventional old-school summary of key requirements under federal law. Spin the mirrored disco ball and join us on the dance floor for "F-C-R-A." Employers, there's a law that applies when a prospect's background you scrutinize. Just remember to dot all the i's. Get consent in written format. Are you OK with the F-C-R-A? Are you OK with the F-C-R-A? Exercise care with that consumer report if you're eager to stay out of court. Supposing you like 'em a lot, but the screening reveals a bit of a blot. The law says you must give them a shot to explain misinformation. Are you OK with the F-C-R-A? Are you OK with the F-C-R-A?

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Recent Events Highlight Potential Need to Background Check Realtors; States

In light of recent court cases in Las Vegas and Madison County, IL, realtors may be an overlooked group of professionals requiring background checks prior to providing services. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of said, "Where there is a money transaction and the sharing of vital personal data such as social security numbers, individuals must protect themselves as best they can from potential fraud." Across the United States citizens are protected to a degree by the licensing required of realtors. But there are certain weaknesses in the licensing procedure that may allow a bad realtor to get a license. All states and the District of Columbia require Real Estate agents to be licensed, but only half of all states conduct background checks, according to the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials. States that do conduct checks may not delve that deeply into an agent's background.

Recent Rental Housing Legislation May Affect Your Business

Recently there have been changes throughout the country that can affect the way your business must work with applicants during the rental screening process. If you are affected by any of these changes, be sure your policies are updated, or that you voice your opinion to oppose them before it is too late. In addition to federal regulations there can be further provisions required by the state your business is operating in. While the information contained in this article is state specific, make no mistake that they can easily spill over to affect others. Oftentimes if a state finds approval to make a change other states are more likely to adopt the same, or a similar, policy. Be sure to remain vigilant in knowing what your state might be proposing because it may negatively impact your business.


Background Check Completion Act Introduced in House of Representatives

A South Carolina Congressman has introduced the Background Check Completion Act in the U.S. House of Representatives to close a loophole that allowed the purchase of a gun allegedly used to kill nine people at a church in Charleston in June 2015, according to a press release from the office of Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn (D-SC 6th District). "The Background Check Completion Act will guarantee that no gun is sold by a licensed dealer until a background check is completed," Congressman Clyburn stated in the press release. "Tragically, the Charleston shooter was allowed to purchase a gun even though the FBI had not completed his background check. This should never be acceptable."

City of Wichita Joins Ban the Box Movement

The city of Wichita, Kansas has joined the Ban the Box movement by implementing a new program called the Fair Chance Initiative where public sector job applications will no longer ask candidates to check a box if they have a felony conviction. The Ban the Box program allows the city to conduct a background check after a candidate accepts a position. According to research from the National Employment Law Project (NELP), more than 100 cities and counties as well as 18 states have adopted some form of Ban the Box policy.

Woman Sues Credit Reporting Agencies for Declaring Her Dead

A St. Louis, Missouri woman has filed a lawsuit against the "big three" credit reporting agencies - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - for declaring her "deceased" in her credit files and making it impossible for her to receive credit or loans. After months of trying, she convinced Experian and TransUnion she was alive but is unsure about Equifax. The lawsuit also claims her credit reports from Experian and TransUnion were "riddled with inaccuracies" such as incorrect names, addresses, and credit lines. Trans-Union and Experian representatives could not comment on pending litigation while Equifax needed more time for research. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) of 2003 allows consumers to obtain free copies of their credit report once a year from each of the "big three" credit reporting agencies.


As the background screening industry continues to get more competitive the firms that will ultimately succeed will be those that create competitive advantage through their people by offering continuous learning opportunities to heightened their knowledge and capabilities. We believe that having employees that are very knowledgeable about the legal landscape of background screening is essential to continued success.


We are grateful to Larry D. Henry who began his law career with the Army JAGC where he tried over 2,000 cases. After the Army he relocated to Tulsa. In 1981, the founder of DAC Services contacted Mr. Henry's firm for assistance in creating a background screening company. Since Mr. Henry's practice was employment law, the firm believed this fell within his area and as they say: "the rest is history". His practice has kept him in continual contact with the background screening industry, and he is a nationally recognized expert in the area of background screening.

Mr. Henry's practice is concentrated on employment law and in specific, background screening of employees. He represents consumer reporting agencies throughout the United States and two national trade associations. He is the author of the Criminal Records Manual and the on line reference, and he is a frequent presenter across the country on various topics dealing with background screening.

In conducting an internal audit for quality assurance purposes, CRA, Inc. discovers certain information was reported to the client incorrectly. No dispute was ever filed, so the issue was not previously discovered. What should CRA, Inc. do?

a. Do nothing.

b. Contact the end user/client to inquire as to whether they hired the applicant. If so, inquire as to whether they would like a free updated report, assuming that they have an evergreen consent, and provide one if requested.

c. Immediately send the corrected report to the end user/client, making it clear that incorrect information was provided in the report previously made.

d. CRA's actions are dependent upon whether the incorrect information is helpful or harmful to the consumer.


LEGAL ISSUES - continued

Maine Enacts New Social Media Privacy Law

A newly enacted law in Maine - LD 686, HP 467, An Act To Promote Privacy in Social Media - will protect the social media privacy of employees and job applicants law by prohibiting employers from requiring employees or job applicants to disclose passwords or any other means for accessing their personal social media accounts. The new law takes effect October 15, 2015. The Maine social media privacy law prohibits an employer from requiring an employee or job applicant to access personal social media accounts or disclose personal social media account information in the presence of the employer, except when the employers reasonably believe that information is relevant to an investigation of alleged employee misconduct or workplace-related violation of laws.

Class Action Lawsuit Claims Bank Violated FCRA with Background Checks

A federal court in Virginia has denied a motion for summary judgment in a class action complaint that claims Wells Fargo Bank violated the FCRA when performing background checks on job applicants by coding some as "ineligible" prompting adverse action and including a release of liability in authorization forms. The plaintiff claims Wells Fargo violated the FCRA requirement of "a clear and conspicuous" disclosure in a document that consists solely of a disclosure that a background check may be obtained because that documents also contained language releasing the company and others from liability arising from the background check. In denying the motion for summary judgment, the court found that the plaintiff could assert claims that the initial disclosure was not in a document consisting solely of the disclosure and that the "ineligible" coding was an adverse action under the FCRA.

Georgia Law Taking Effect July 1 Offers FCRA Protections

Effective July 1, 2015, a new law in Georgia - House Bill 328 (HB 328) - will enact similar protections offered to consumers under Section 613 of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Georgia HB 328 will amend Part 2 of Article 15 of Chapter 1 of Title 10 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, the "Fair Business Practices Act of 1975," by adding a new Code section. The Order will prohibit Georgia state agencies from using a prior criminal history as an automatic disqualification for job applicants and allow them the opportunity to discuss their criminal records. The term "Ban the Box" refers to the box on job applications that applicants are asked to check if they have criminal convictions.

Fort Myers FL to Ban the Box on City Job Applications

The City of Fort Myers, Florida plans to "Ban the Box" and remove a question on the city's employment application that asks job seekers applying for city government jobs if they have ever been convicted of a crime. The Myers Human Resources Department is working with the City Attorney's Office to draft a Ban the Box policy. No applicant is judged by on the box now and all are judged on a case-by-case situation after a background check since every city job has different requirements. The Ban the Box movement is rapidly spreading throughout the United States. According to research from the National Employment Law Project (NELP), more than 100 cities and counties as well as 18 states have adopted some form of Ban the Box legislation.

FCRA Class Action Lawsuits Rise Sharply in June 2015

Fair Credit reporting Act (FCRA) class action lawsuits rose 26.8% from May 2015 to June 2015, and FCRA class action lawsuits rose 67.4% in June 2015 over June 2014, according Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Complaint Statistics. The CFPB Complaint Statistics show 298 FCRA class action lawsuits were filed between June 1, 2015 and June 30, 2015 while 235 FCRA class action lawsuits were filed between May 1, 2015 and May 31, 2015, a rise of 26.8 percent rise from May 2015 to June 2015. Year to Date (YTD), FCRA class action lawsuits were up 22.7% with 1514 filed from January 2015 to June 2015 and 1234 filed from January 2014 to June 2014.

States Try to Make the Grade with Student Data Privacy Efforts

With students around the country back in school, it's time for educators and education-focused technology (EdTech) service providers to pick up their pens and paper (or more likely their tablets), and brush up on requirements for protecting student data. Legislators in Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Washington worked to tighten student data privacy restrictions this legislative session, passing bills shortly before the bell rang and the legislators were dismissed. Following our summary of these new laws, we have outlined a few next steps for education institutions and EdTech service providers in these states, including reexamining and potentially updating current policies and procedures as may be required by these new state laws.

Universal Studios and the FCRA Roller Coaster

Universal Studios Orlando, the theme park and resort owned by NBCUniversal Inc., was hit with a putative class action accusing it of not properly disclosing that it was using credit reports on current and prospective employees to make employment decisions, according to a lawsuit removed to federal court.
Lead plaintiff alleges in the FCRA class action lawsuit that Universal Studios Orlando used a consumer report in determining not to hire him, but Universal illegally obtained and used the report. The plaintiff alleges that Universal does not properly disclose its use of credit reports in hiring decisions, in additions to other violations of FCRA. Plaintiff claims that although the company includes a liability release within its FCRA disclosure form in the job application, the release does not meet the "longstanding regulatory guidance from the FTC." In response to the suit, Universal categorically denied the allegations in a brief filed Tuesday, saying that neither it nor any of its agents violated the law when making employment decisions.
(Registration Required)

Whole Foods Settles Background Check Class Action Lawsuit for $803K

Whole Foods Market Group Inc. has agreed to a nearly $803,000 class action lawsuit settlement over allegations that the natural grocery store chain violated the FCRA by not properly disclosing to prospective employees that they were running a background check. According to the Whole Foods class action settlement agreement, the grocery food chain "denies that it engaged in any wrongdoing," nor do they admit or concede any actual or potential fault. However, the defendant claimed that if a jury found them liable they could have to pay between $100 to $1,000 to each Class Member so they agreed to the settlement amount. Under the Whole Foods class action settlement, approximately 20,000 Class Members will receive a portion of $802,720. After fees and other expenses, this would leave each Class Member with a payment of about $24.

New FINRA Rule on Background Checks

FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) has issued a rule change for background screening requirements that went into effect on July 1, 2015. FINRA Rule 3110(e) is based on similar provisions in NASD Rule 3010(e) and NYSE Rule 345.11. In short, FINRA Rule 3110(e) lays out the specifics of what is required for a background check on U4 applicants. The new rule walks through the investigation and verification requirements for information in the Form U4 (Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer). Significantly, the rule introduces a new requirement to search national public records in order to verify U4 information. Firms subject to regulation by FINRA need to review their investigation policies and practices for U4 applications.

Class Suit Targets Uber's Pre-Employment Background Checks

Uber Inc. has been hit with a putative class action in federal court in Newark claiming it violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act by using background reports in hiring decisions without allowing applicants to dispute entries in their reports. The case, Cuccinello v. Uber, was filed Sept. 2 on behalf of persons who applied for jobs with Uber and were subjects of an adverse employment action based on information from a consumer reporting agency. The suit claims Uber violated the FCRA by failing to give each applicant a copy of their report and a summary of their rights under the FCRA before the hiring decision was made. The suit is the latest in a series of class actions targeting Uber's use of consumer credit reports to make employment decisions. Uber has been named in at least three other FCRA suits in federal court in San Francisco, where the company is headquartered, related to background checks on job applicants.
(Free Registration Required)

A Bipartisan "Ban the Box" Bill is Introduced in Congress

Members of Congress led by U.S. Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) in the Senate and Reps. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) and Darrell Issa (R-CA), in the House of Representatives, introduced the Fair Chance Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would give formerly incarcerated people a fairer chance at securing employment by prohibiting federal contractors and federal agencies from asking about the criminal history of a job applicant until an applicant receives a conditional offer of employment. Eighteen states and over 100 cities and counties have taken action, giving formerly incarcerated people a fairer chance to secure employment. The Fair Chance Act would bring the "Ban the Box" initiative to the federal hiring process.

BMW Signs Consent Decree - Background Screening

BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC (BMW) entered into a consent decree with the EEOC regarding allegations that they discriminated against African American logistics employees through application of criminal background checks which had a disparate impact and led to said employees termination. You will recall that the issue in the BMW litigation involved the use of a contractor's less restrictive background screening policy versus BMW's more stringent policy at a facility in South Carolina. This led to allegations of race discrimination arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. By entering into the consent decree, BMW expressly denies liability and does not admit any wrongdoing. At the same time, BMW is enjoined from use of the criminal background check guidelines, which were in effect. Finally, BMW agreed to pay $1.6 million in monetary relief to fifty-six claimants and to offer those claimants who want to return, the opportunity to return to work at the facility.

State Appellate Court Considers Employer's Duty to Conduct Criminal Background Checks

In the last few years, there has been a significant spike in the number of lawsuits challenging employer use of criminal background checks, including class action lawsuits brought under the federal FCRA. There also has been a sharp increase in the number of state and local "ban the box" laws. Employers must be mindful of the types of conviction and arrest records that are considered "off limits" at the state and local level. Given this hot litigation and legislative climate, many employers ask themselves whether to even screen their workforces and take on the burden of navigating through these murky waters. For those employers that do not conduct criminal background checks on their workforces, a recent Texas Court of Appeals decision highlights the importance of carefully determining whether an employer can justify a failure to screen workers based on the employer's industry and the specific job duties at issue.



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Public Record Update
By Mike Sankey, PRRN

Tips Sheet for Searching Court Records

Below are a series of tips that should be kept in mind as you perform your record searching at the courts.

  1. Learn the Index & Record Systems Most civil courts index records by both plaintiffs and defendants, but some only index by the defendant name. A plaintiff search is useful, for example, to determine if someone is especially litigious.
  2. Understand the Search Requirements There is a strong tendency for courts to overstate their search requirements. For civil cases, the usual reasonable requirement is a defendant (or plaintiff) name - full name if it is a common name - and the time frame to search - e.g., 1993-2002. For criminal cases, the court may require more identification, such as date of birth (DOB), to ascertain the correct individual.
  3. Be Aware of Restricted Records Courts have types of case records, such as juvenile and adoptions, which are not released without a court order. Records may also be sealed from view or expunged. The presiding judge often makes a determination of whether a particular record type is available to the public. Some criminal court records include the arresting officer's report. In some locations this information is regarded as public record, while in other locations the police report may be sealed.
  4. Watch for Multiple Courts at Same Location When the general jurisdiction and limited jurisdiction courts are in the same building and use the same support staff, chances are the record databases are combined as well. But that does not necessarily mean you will receive a search of both databases and pay for one search unless you ask for it. Do not assume.
  5. Watch for Overlapping Jurisdictions In some states, the general jurisdiction court and the limited jurisdiction court have overlapping dollar amounts for civil cases. That means a case could be filed in either court. Check both courts; never assume.
  6. Online Searching is Generally Limited to Docket Sheets Most courts that offer online access limit the search to the docket sheet data. But checking a courthouse's computer online docket index is the quickest way to find if case records exist online. Just be sure to check all name variations and spelling variations. Case document images are not generally available online because courts are still experimenting and developing electronic filing and imaging. Generally, copies of case documents are only on-site.
  7. The Less You Pay for Online Searching the Less Useful the Data Is Look closely for a disclaimer. As you will read in the book, there are certain states or counties that provide free record searching on the web. Look closely for a disclaimer. Is this the official record? Are you doing the search for employment or litigation purposes and need the official record? Does the site provide any personal identifiers beyond the name? This can be a problem when researching a common name.

This article is an excerpt from the Guide to County Court Records - © BRB Publications, Inc.


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Pre-Offer Drug Tests Were Not Impermissible Medical Examinations Under the ADA, Court Holds

Pre-offer drug tests to determine the use of illegal drugs did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act's prohibition on pre-offer medical inquiries, a federal court in Pennsylvania held on September 15, 2015. The Court previously held that the pre-offer drug tests did, in fact, qualify as impermissible medical examinations that violated the ADA because each urine sample was tested for both medical reasons and for use of illicit drugs. After a bench trial, however, the Court awarded judgment to Defendants, holding that the evidence showed that the drugs tests "were proper drug screens" and did not constitute medical examinations under the ADA.The EEOC offered no evidence to contradict Defendants' proffered reason for conducting the pre-offer drug tests, namely, to make employment decisions based on illegal drug use.

More Americans Using Marijuana: Government Report

More Americans are using marijuana, according to a new government report. About 8.4% of Americans ages 12 and older were current users of marijuana last year, up from 7.5% in 2013. The percentage of teens ages 12 to 17 who smoke, drink or use prescription narcotics non-medically has fallen. The percentage of teens who were current marijuana users in 2014 (7.4%) was similar to recent years. Marijuana use grew among adults 26 and older - from 5.6% in 2013 to 6.6% in 2014. Overall, the use of illicit drugs - including marijuana - among Americans aged 12 and older increased from 9.4% in 2013 to 10.2% in 2014. This was especially driven by the increase in adult marijuana use. "The data released today show some signs of progress," Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy, said in a SAMHSA news release. "However, we still have significant challenges to address."

Drug Test Entitles Workers to Union Rep

The NLRB says sending a worker for a drug test is the same as disciplinary action and the worker gets to be accompanied by a Union representative. In a recent case, a delivery worker had an workplace accident and, the next day, came to work with glassy, bloodshot eye and "reek[ing] of the smell of marijuana." The boss demanded that he take a drug test. The worker refused because he could not locate a union steward to accompany him. The company fired him for refusing. The NLRB ruled that the worker had the right to union representation, and that firing him for those circumstances violated his rights to union representation. Therefore, his termination for refusing to take the test also violated his rights under the NLRA. Employers will have to update their drug testing procedures and account for this additional delaying tactic.

Employment Alert (US): Guidance Clarifies NYC Employers' Obligations Under Credit Check Law

The New York City Commission on Human Rights has issued interpretive enforcement guidance for the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act. The SCDEA amended the New York City Human Rights Law and made it an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to use or request an employee's or applicant's consumer credit history, except in certain enumerated circumstances. The guidance, which went into effect on September 3, 2015, provides important insight for employers on how the new law will be enforced. The Commission's guidance clarifies that consumer credit history is "rarely" relevant to employment decisions and that consumer reports should not be requested for "most positions" in New York City. Employers in New York City should carefully evaluate, on a case-by-case basis, whether any exemptions to the SCDEA apply before requesting the credit history of applicants or employees.


EU - US Umbrella Agreement About to be Concluded: Towards a Transatlantic Approach to Data Protection?

According to the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, VéraJourová, the EU and the US have finalized the EU-US Umbrella Agreement. This is a remarkable breakthrough after the first calls for such an agreement back in March 2009, when the European Parliament called for an "EU - US agreement ensuring adequate protection of civil liberties and personal data protection". The Umbrella Agreement will complement existing EU-US and Member State-US agreements in the area of law enforcement and put in place a comprehensive high level data protection framework. It will cover all personal data exchanged by the EU and the US for the purpose of prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of criminal offences - including obviously terrorism.

Background Check Data Breach Affects 21.5 Million People

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has announced that sensitive information including Social Security Numbers (SSNs) for 21.5 million people was compromised in a database breach involving the background check records of current, former, and prospective Federal employees and contractors. The OPM concluded that the sensitive information stolen from the background check databases includes 19.7 million individuals who applied for a background check and 1.8 million non-applicants who are primarily spouses or co-habitants of the applicants. The OPM is warning people who underwent a background check investigation through OPM in 2000 or afterwards for either a new investigation or a reinvestigation that it is "highly likely" that they are impacted by the background check data breach.


sjv_logo SJV Hires Nitza Lamas as Vice President of International Solutions & Compliance

SJV is pleased to announce the hiring of Nitza Lamas as Vice President of International Solutions & Compliance, who will oversee the company's growing International Division. In her role, Nitza's focus will be to expand SJV's Global Footprint through new and enhanced solutions, while being a dedicated and expert resource to SJV's customers in all areas of International Screening.

Nitza brings over 25 years of experience in the Background and Pre-Employment Screening Industries to SJV's Senior Management Team. During this time she has spearheaded numerous organizations' efforts towards business optimization through process improvements, product development, and system enhancements.

"I'm thrilled to welcome Nitza to the SJV family, as she brings not only a wealth of industry-specific knowledge and experience, but also a proven track record of success with many of our existing customers", said Scott Vanek, Founder & President of SJV. "Our commitment to providing the best customer experience is what defines SJV, and hiring Nitza is a direct reflection of this."

sjv_logo FCRA Basic Recertification Now Possible With Professional Development Credits

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners is proud to announce a new recertification option for the FCRA Basic Program. Earn FCRA Basic Recertification by attending NAPBS educational tracks at conferences and webinars.

FCRA Basic Recertification Timeline & Fees

For FCRA Basic Recertification, you must submit your Professional Development Credits (PDCs) or take the recertification exam by the end of your two-year certification period.
The FCRA Basic Recertification Fee is $50 for members ($100 non-members) regardless of whether recertification is achieved by taking the exam or submitting PDCs.

Recertification By Credit Submission

Five PDCs are needed to qualify for FCRA Basic Recertification. PDCs must be submitted to NAPBS by the end of the two-year recertification period. Once the recertification application is complete and has been approved, your next two-year recertification period will begin from your existing end date. Complete submittal instructions will be posted to the NAPBS website.
NAPBS will highlight NAPBS educational tracks and webinars that will qualify for credits towards recertification so members can easily plan. Sign in sheets will be provided at these designated sessions at conferences to track attendance. At this time, only NAPBS webinars and educational tracks will qualify for PDCs.

Sessions qualifying at the 2015 Annual Conference:

  • General Session - Mitigating Your Risk for FCRA Litigation
  • Consumer Reporting Agency Compliance: From Soup to Entree Part I
  • Consumer Reporting Agency Compliance Requirements: From Meat Course through Dessert Part II
  • Don't Bungle Your Last Chance Before a Lawsuit: How to Get Disputes Right
  • FCRA Class Action Mechanics and Lessons Learned
  • Lessons from Trying an FCRA Case to a Jury Verdict: A Real Life Case Study
  • Staffing Vendors & Third Parties Can Create Liability Landmines for CRAs

Recertification By Exam

You still have the option to maintain your FCRA Basic certification by taking the recertification exam.






Kevin Coy is a Partner in the Washington DC office of Arnall Golden Gregory LLP. Kevin
advises background screening companies and other clients on a wide range of privacy and consumer regulatory issues, including Fair Credit Reporting Act, Gramm Leach Bliley Act,
Drivers' Privacy Protection Act, and Dodd Frank Act compliance issues, as well as data breach matters. Kevin also represents clients with matters before the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other consumer protection agencies.

Kevin can be contacted at or 202-677-4034.


September 2015

At the Supreme Court

On September 9th, the Supreme Court announced that oral arguments in Spokeo v. Robins have been scheduled for Monday November 2nd.

On Capitol Hill

On September 24th, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced S. 2077 to "amend the [FCRA] to clarify the ability to request consumer reports in certain cases to establish and enforce child support payments and awards."

On September 16th, Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) introduced HR 3524, the Equal Employment for All Act. The Senate version, S. 1981, is sponsored by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and was introduced August 5th. The bill would amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to restrict the use of information bearing on creditworthiness, credit standing, or credit capacity for employment purposes or employment adverse actions.

On September 10th, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) introduced HR 3470, the Fair Chance Act, which would "prohibit federal agencies and federal contractors from requesting that an applicant for employment disclose criminal history record information before the applicant has received a conditional offer." Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Senate version, S. 2021. According to a statement published on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's website, the bill would assist formerly incarcerated individuals in obtaining a "fairer chance at securing employment."

At the Department of Commerce

On September 28th, the U.S. Mission to the European Union (EU) issued a statement indicating that the US and EU continue to negotiate reforms to the EU-US Safe Harbor Program for transfers of personal information from the EU to the United States and to question what the mission refers to as "numerous inaccurate assertions about intelligence practices of the United States" in a September 23rd opinion from the European Court of Justice's Advocate General which recommended that the ECJ invalidate the EU's decision finding that the Safe Harbor program provides "adequate" privacy protection under EU law.

At the CFPB

On September 8th, the CFPB filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Spokeo, Inc. v Robins, a lawsuit alleging that Spokeo, Inc. (Spokeo) violated the FCRA by publishing inaccurate information on the plaintiff. In its brief, the CFPB expressed support for the plaintiff's standing to sue, arguing that a plaintiff can show the "injury in fact" requirement for Article III standing "by demonstrating an invasion of his own legally protected interests" as long as the plaintiff can show the invasion was "actual and concrete."

On August 25th, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its monthly consumer complaint "snapshot," which focused on credit reporting complaints. According to the CFPB, consumer credit reporting complaints "sharply increased compared to the prior month and the prior year."

At the EEOC

On September 8th, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC (BMW) entered into a consent decree, requiring BMW to pay $1.6 million to settle EEOC allegations.

At the FTC

On September 16th, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a blog post about the Fair Credit Reporting Act's (FCRA) Furnisher Rule. In the post, the FTC highlighted its recent enforcement action against Tricolor Auto Group (TAG), requiring TAG to pay approximately $82,000 to resolve alleged violations of the FCRA by "fail[ing] to have written policies and procedures regarding the accuracy of reported credit information, and fail[ing] to properly investigate disputed consumer credit information."

On September 8th, the FTC released a closing letter regarding an FTC Staff investigation into an employer's compliance with the FCRA which involved the exception to the definition of consumer report in FCRA § 603(y) for certain employment investigations.

Read the full report

Welcome to the eVerify Challenge Question!


Welcome to the eVerify Challenge Question! 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:

If an employee presents a Permanent Resident Card for I-9 purposes, the employer should not reverify upon its expiration.


Company Fined $600,000 for I-9 Violations

The Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) has ordered Hartmann Studio, Inc. to pay a fine of over $600,000, which is one of the largest fines that it has ever assessed for I-9 form violations not involving the knowing employment of undocumented workers. The violations were all substantive paperwork violations - the employer failing to sign Section 2 of the I-9 form, failing to timely prepare or present I-9 forms, failing to ensure employees properly completed Section 1 of the I-9 form, and failing to properly complete Section 3 of the I-9 form. ICE sought over $800,000 in penalties based upon an error rate of approximately 90%. However, OCAHO determined Hartmann's conduct was not as bad as employers in three other recent cases and lowered the amount.

Employers Might Want to Rethink the I-9 Review Process

A large clothing retailer recently entered into a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) following an allegation that the company discriminated against a non-US citizen in violation of federal immigration laws, including the Immigration and Nationality Act. The employer required the employee to produce a green card as part of the I-9 process. As a reminder, employers are not permitted to ask for a specific form of identification when collecting I-9's. Employees can choose from the available options on the form, and employers must take what they get. The DOJ settlement includes a hefty back-pay award and DOJ monitoring of the company's employment verification practices for the next two years. Companies should reevaluate and monitor their I-9 verification and re-verification practices.

E-Verify Program Set to Expire

The E-Verify program is set to expire 9/30/15 unless it is reauthorized by Congress. So what does that mean for employers who use E-Verify? The program is administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It was created as the Basic Pilot program back in 1996, and over time it has been renamed E-Verify. Over the years it has been reauthorized by Congress for a set amount of time, usually at the last minute. Last time it was reauthorized (in 2012) it was reauthorized for a period of 3 years, until September 30, 2015. Congress is currently in recess until September 8, although discussions are on going about reauthorization for this program and three other programs set to expire at the same time (EB-5 visa program, Conrad 30 and religious worker visas).


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Tenant Screening Begins to Weed Out Anti-socials

Anti-social elements attempting to take refuge in Tirupur will now have a tough time hiding from the police, thanks to a tenant information system being put in place by the Tirupur city police. Police officials have managed to gather data pertaining to 12,000 tenants till date. The database, second of its kind after Chennai, will have mobile numbers, family details, previous address, work details and an identity proof of the tenant. The tenant information system would also include a photocopy of the tenant's driving licence, ration card or voter ID card, passport, PAN card or Aadhaar card. The idea of a tenant information system was mooted after frequent incidents of anti social elements finding a safe haven in Tirupur. Tirupur police commissioner S N Seshasai, who initiated the process, said he did not want to force the public to hasten the preparation of the database.


Go and Study or Go to Jail

Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa has laid down the gauntlet on the issue of fake qualifications. Ramaphosa said that government is busy putting measures in place that will see those misrepresenting their qualifications being reported to the National Prosecuting Authority and possibly even facing jail time. For a while it seemed as if everyone had conveniently forgotten that a fake qualification is in fact fraud, which is in fact a criminal offense. This type of behaviour is not tolerated in the private sector and it's high time our state-owned enterprises are held to the same standard. To ensure that only qualified individuals are employed, the process of qualifications, experience and certificate verification must be thorough. The process typically involves reference inquiries, verification of qualifications as well as credit and criminal history checks.



Background Screening Jobs

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.


Feature Education:

FCRA Basic Certification Webinar Series Update

The FCRA Basic Certification program series is now available for purchase.

For more information

FCRA Certification credits can now be earned through self development

2015 Events (
Click Here to View full list of Events ) - Updated Monthly

SHRM State Conferences, visit

Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA), 2013 Training Course Schedule, visit

SAPAA Training Institute Learning Events,

CUPA-HR Conferences:

World Federation of People Management Associations, Events,


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