Federal Government looking into flawed background checks

The Justice Department filed a civil complaint against its largest security check contractor, alleging they defrauded the US out of 700,000 flawed background checks.

The firm, USIS, was responsible for conducting background checks on NSA leaker Edward Snowden, and Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis. The suit claims about 40% of the background checks between March 2008- September 2012 were not completed per the agreement of their contract.

One former USIS employee claims the company rushed background screenings through to secure over $12 million in bonuses from the federal government, while giving the impression the screenings were more in-depth.

According to the company’s whistleblower, USIS used software to mark electronic “Review Complete” notations, without property completing the mandated screening process.

The government paid USIS between $95-$2500 per background check, depending the level of security and type of screening completed.

For this and more information about employee screenings, please visit our website at http://www.verifyprotect.com.

CA law cracks down on employee background screenings

A new law signed by California governor Jerry Brown now requires that state and municipal governments must first determine if job applicants are qualified for a position BEFORE inquiring about their criminal past.

This law was in response to groups lobbying for employers to lower the barrier for employment. The momentum for “Ban The Box” laws has been gaining speed in recent years, with Hawaii being the first to overhaul job applications with questions about criminal convictions fifteen years ago.

California’s new law also requires that state and local agencies also delay an employee background check until they determine if a candidate is qualified for a position. However, positions that are exempt include this in law enforcement or education, where background checks are required by law.

Ten states now have Ban the Box laws, with Minnesota and Rhode Island passing similar legislation this past summer.

For this and more information about the legalities of employee screening, please visit our website at http://www.verifyprotect.com

Seattle Laws Restrict Employee Background Checks

This November, new laws will go into effect that will restrict how employers in the city of Seattle can use information obtained through criminal background checks.

First, the ordinances will affects the timing of when an employee screening may be completed. Employers will only be allowed to proceed with a background check AFTER job applicants have been interviewed and been given considering for a position based on their experience and having other necessary qualifications.

Employers are also limited to how they can use information obtained through a criminal background report. First, the employer can only disqualify a job candidate based on their convictions, not for crimes they have been arrested for and subsequently acquitted.

Secondly, the employer has to offer legitimate correlation as to why a person’s criminal record could make them a high-risk employee for a particular business or job position. For example, a person with a DUI conviction can be refused a job driving a bus, but not necessarily a job answering telephones.

If the person’s criminal background report reveals the job candidate is pending litigation for a crime, they can only be refused employment if there is a legitimate business reason they could be a threat to the company. For example, a person who is being accused of shoplifting can be turned down for a job as retail manager with access to store merchandise.

There are some employers who are excluded from the new criminal background limitations. Those include positions held in the category of law enforcement officers, security agents, criminal justice, or those working with minors, elderly and disabled adults.

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Foreigners in U.S. flight schools arent all given background checks

More than a decade after al-Qaeda terrorists who helped carry out the Sept. 11 attacks received flight training in the U.S., a government investigator has found that American officials aren’t doing background checks on all foreigners who apply to flight schools.

An unspecified number of the 25,599 foreigners who applied for U.S. pilot licenses between January 2006 and September 2011 weren’t given background checks by the Transportation Security Administration, said Stephen M. Lord, a director at the Government Accountability Office, Congress’s auditor, in written testimony for a U.S. House panel last week.

Foreigners who weren’t subjected to criminal background checks still received training and a license, Lord said at a House Homeland Security subcommittee hearing on the security gaps. According to Transportation Security Administration rules, foreign nationals looking to get flight training in the U.S. must receive a security threat assessment. That process includes checking applicants’ backgrounds for terrorist and criminal activities and immigration violations.

Mohammad Atta, the lead Sept. 11 hijacker, and some of his accomplices received flight training at U.S. schools. It’s surprising and frightening that so many years after the U.S. was crushed with the single worst terrorist attack, such background check policies would still have such weaknesses.

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Baldor Electric Co. settles hiring discrimination claim

Yet another company has been caught in a discrimination claim when it comes to background checks used during the hiring process. Baldor Electric Co. has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs discrimination claim based on their employee background check policy.  The company denied bias in its settlement. Baldor holds more than $18 million in federal contracts and is owned by ABB Ltd. in Zurich, Switzerland.

The Labor Department investigation determined that Baldor’s background screening process had a disparate impact on women and minorities. The result of those screening protocols was that 795 qualified women and minorities were not given the opportunity to advance to the interview stage of the hiring process. The company has been defending itself since the Labor Department raised the issue over Baldor’s 2006 employment applicant screening data.

Government background checks for security clearance getting downright speedy

Everyone’s doing background checks on everyone else these days, it seems, and all this background checking seems to be making the government speedier at it. That’s according to testimony last week before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee, which stated the government is completing its initial personnel security investigations in an average of 36 days, a sharp drop from the 145 days average in 2005.

The Office of Personnel Management’s background investigations for top secret clearances average 72 days, compared to 308 days in 2005. Reinvestigations, which are required every five years for employees with top security clearance average 93 days against an incredibly slow 419 days in 2005. All other secret or confidential clearance reinvestigations average 31 days now, compared to 115 days in 2005.

Merton W. Miller, associate director of investigations for the Federal Investigative Service, which provides background checks for 90 percent of the federal government, said the speedier checks were due in part to the updating of the national security questionnaire, the Standard Form 86. That form now asks for more information from applicants, which in turn has streamlined the interview process. And there’s an increased emphasis on filling out forms electronically rather than on paper, which has decreased the number of incomplete or illegible forms and led to fewer backlogs, he said.

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Screening only one facet of avoiding, or catching, a criminal

The headlines on the Jerry Sandusky trial are a clear indication that there needs to be more than background checks in order to protect children from predators. For those not familiar with the case, Sandusky is the former Penn State assistant football coach who is currently facing 52 counts tied to what prosecutors say was his sexual abuse of at least 10 boys over a span of 15 years. The state says Sandusky met many of his alleged victims through The Second Mile, a charity for underprivileged youths that he founded.

Avoiding the hiring of someone with a criminal record that could pose a threat to your company or your employees is one thing. But catching a criminal is another, and a background check doesn’t always reveal one. Sandusky, though his trial is ongoing and he hasn’t been convicted of any crime yet, had no criminal record leading up to this recent arrest.

Last week the national Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), one of the nation’s largest volunteer sports organizations, announced aggressive actions to implement the measures put forth by two independent task forces. The first steps include requiring that all adults involved in AAU activities – from volunteer coaches to AAU staff – undergo detailed background checks. The second is adopting clear policies and procedures designed to ensure that young athletes are never left alone with individual adults. And the third step is requiring all AAU volunteers and staff to report any incidents of suspected child abuse to law enforcement and to officials of the AAU and related sports clubs.

The action was prompted after child sexual abuse allegations were lodged against an ex-president of the group, according to news reports. In total, there are 42 recommendations for changes in AAU policies, procedures and protocols, all designed to make young athletes safer. The recommendations cover six broad subject areas: culture, protocols, screening, participation, training and reporting.

The fact that screening, employment screening and volunteer screening, is only part of the recommendations is a good indication that every employer and every organization across all industries should have a multi-tiered system in place for preventing – or at least catching — such abuse.

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Pa. Dept. of Aging changes to electronic fingerprinting

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging will soon begin using an electronic fingerprinting process to screen people applying to work in a long-term care facility or home health care agency, according to a press release by the department. As of June 4, manually submitted background check requests no longer are to be accepted by the department.

“In addition to enhancing the protections provided to our older adults, electronic fingerprinting will help us to more quickly process background checks,” Secretary of Aging Brian Duke stated in the release. “This is important because it will help people obtain jobs in Pennsylvania’s valuable health care industry.”

The secratatropin hgh Older Adults Protective Services Act requires applicants and employees of long-term care facilities, home health care agencies and other agencies to undergo a criminal history background check. They must also obtain criminal history record reports through the Pennsylvania State Police.

Applicants who have not been a Pennsylvania resident for at least two years must obtain criminal history record reports from both the State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Previously, the department processed fingerprints manually. It is moving toward a more efficient and effective method that will be compatible with law enforcement and other screening processes.

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Yahoo CEO latest to get caught padding resume

Well, it has happened again. This time it’s Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson whose resume was found to be padded. Thompson, who was hired by the internet giant in January, has two degrees listed on his resume: A bachelor’s degree in accounting from Stonehill College, and a degree in computer science, which would make sense given his history in the workforce – Thompson previously was an executive with Paypal. Unfortunately, he doesn’t hold a computer science degree.

This lapse in employment screening seems particularly stunning given that it was such an upper-level position (the very top!) with such a public company. But skipping such a critical step in the pre-employment screening process – namely, that of education verification – is something that is commonly done, particularly with someone online pokie of Thompson’s stature and distinguished career. Collectively, people in human resources and others involved in the hiring process think ‘Why would he make up anything at this point? Surely someone else would have caught a lie by now.’ It can seem almost ridiculous to spend time and money verifying someone’s education credentials at that level.

But Thompson’s story is exactly why it’s critical to conduct a thorough employment screening every single time. Yahoo is now dealing with a public relations nightmare, not to mention upheaval within its ranks and among its biggest investors. Those are headaches no business wants. So do yourself a favor, learn by others’ mistakes, and be thorough and unbiased in your own screening protocols.

 

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Airport security badges issued before background checks complete

Recent news reports that several new airport security employees were given their security badges before their background checks were complete raises concerns about whether other employers take short cuts on employment screening protocols that could compromise the safety of the public and/or fellow employees.

The Transportation Security Administration confirmed that some new employees were issued their security badges even though the third and final step in the background check process had not been completed. The delay was due to a backlog from a computer switchover, the TSA reported.

During the screening process, new employees are required to verify their identity. Then, they are matched to a terrorist watch list. If they are on the list, then they are tossed out. Next is a verification of a Online Blackjack prospective employee’s criminal record. Finally, there is a security threat assessment conducted by the TSA. That check is pending for many of the new employees, but airports have been given the OK to grant the badges without that step being completed. The TSA has said security access is limited for those with the provisional badges, and there is no security threat in issuing the badges prematurely.

However safe the public is despite this lapse in protocol, the public relations nightmare it has caused is reason enough for all employers to make sure that their pre-employment screening processes are followed to the letter. No shortcuts should be allowed, for safety and financial concerns, as well as possible legal ramifications.

 

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