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.

National Consumer Law Center report on background check companies says be careful who you hire

A recent report by the National Consumer Law Center claims that background checks can be erroneous, advising employers to be careful when hiring an employment screening service to conduct background checks on their prospective employees.

According to the report, nearly 75 percent of employers are conducting some sort of pre-employment screening on job applicants. The report claims that errors made by fly-by-night background check companies using shoddy business practices can — and have — cost qualified people good jobs.

“Federal regulatory agencies and states should rein in the Wild West of the background screening industry by holding companies accountable,” said Persis Yu, the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) staff attorney and co-author of the report.

When hiring a screening service to conduct your business’s background checks, research the company’s history and reputation. is a division of American Tenant Screen, which is a leading provider of integrated screening services for businesses in the markets we serve. The company provides screening services globally to more than 3,000 clients, and has been in business for nearly 25 years.


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Periodic background checks a good follow-up to pre-employment screening

Many employers have a “one and done” attitude about background checks for employees. They conduct what they deem to be a thorough pre-employment screening before someone is hired, and that’s it. There’s never any follow-up background screening, or random drug testing, or periodic driver’s license check.

Is that the safest way to run a business? While it’s a great business practice to conduct pre-employment screening, the wise business owner understands that people change, circumstances change and unless you’re periodically checking into things, your staff might have changed – and not for the better.

Employers should follow up their wise hiring practices by implementing safeguards against current employees who could be breaking the law. The most obvious step is to institute a Drug and Alcohol policy that includes random periodic drug testing, if you don’t have one already. And it’s not a bad idea to conduct periodic background checks for current employees and implement pre-hire and periodic screening for temporary or contingent workers as well .


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With spring sports registration comes spring sport background checks

It’s hard to believe, but winter is waning and spring sports registration is under way in many parts of the country. If your business, school or organization is involved in any way, shape or form with spring sports involving children and teenagers, now is the time to make sure you have — and are following — a clearly stated policy on background checks. Make sure everyone currently on staff has had a thorough background check, and that any new coach, volunteer or job applicant undergoes the same background screening.

Parents will be asking what your policy is, so have handouts on hand to give out as part of the registration process. And be sure to include a phone number and contact person for parents to call with questions or to report any activity they feel is suspicious or worrisome.

Finally, check with your state laws to make sure the type of background checks you’re doing are compliant with state regulations. And get the process under way as soon as possible — many coaches and volunteers tend to drag their feet when it comes to completing and returning the necessary forms. The last thing you want is to have a shortage of eligible coaches when it comes time for the season to start!

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Are you sure all your background check protocols are being followed?

If your company has an established employment screening process in place, are you sure it’s being followed? Are all the managers responsible for completing the various screening reports fully trained in the process? Are they being held accountable for those protocols being followed for every single prospective or current employee under their command?

A story out of Jacksonville, Fla., illustrates the importance of not just having background check protocols in place, but following through with them, thoroughly and timely, in every instance. Three employees of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority recently lost their jobs after an investigation showed they weren’t doing their due vigrx oil at health food store diligence during the screening process.

The investigation showed some JTA bus drivers behind the wheel despite the fact that they had been cited in the past for driving without a license. Others had previous arrests for violent crimes. And some of those incidents happened to drivers while they were employed at JTA.

It’s good practice to ensure your employees are following not just basic standards for background screening, but adhering to every type of background check, as often as your company demands, for every eligible employee or prospective employee. Don’t let anyone fall through the cracks.


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Two new laws change the background screening business in California

 If you are an employer in California or you do business in that state, you should be aware of two new laws taking effect on Jan. 1 that might change your pre-employment screening practices.

The first change, thanks to California Assembly Bill 22, is that it will be against the law for most employers and prospective employers in California from obtaining credit reports for employment purposes. Exceptions to this rule include financial institutions and those hiring for certain positions, such as managers, those in law enforcement, and positions that require access to personal information or financial information.

The other change is due to California Senate Bill 909, which appears to be the first law in the nation that addresses the issue of consumers’ personal information that is collected during background checks for employment purposes being sent “offshore” and outside the United States or its territories beyond the protection of U.S. privacy laws.

SB 909 amends the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRA) that regulates background checks in California and requires a new disclosure and additions to a Consumer Reporting Agency’s privacy policy to be made to consumers before their personal information is sent outside of the United States. It does not regulate or prohibit the sending of personal information outside the U.S., but it requires that consumers be told of the background screening agency’s privacy practices, including whether the consumer’s personal information will be sent outside the country.

If these new regulations will be affecting your business or the way you conduct employment screening, now is the time to read up on the changes and make sure your company, and the pre-employment screening service you hire, remains in compliance with the law.

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Majority of retailers surveyed conduct background checks

A recent survey by the National Retail Federation has found that nearly all of the country’s leading department stores, grocery stores, large drug stores, discount stores and restaurants surveyed — a whopping 96.6 percent — use some form of background screening during the application, hiring and employment process.

This includes application forms – and prevent businesses from asking job applicants about their criminal history during the application and pre-employment process. Twenty-eight cities and counties across the country have “banned the box,” no longer asking potential employees whether they have any felony convictions.

The survey also found retailers conduct post-employment screening at a high rate on store associates, store management, and distribution center employees. The most common type of background check is the criminal history check, followed by the Social Security Number trace, and a check of the applicant’s sex offender status.

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Former Nasdaq employees case is example of why pre-employment screening is so important

Donald Johnson is a prime example of why a thorough criminal background screening is needed on all employees —and why the results should be taken seriously.

Johnson, a former Nasdaq executive, recently pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud for trading on confidential information about companies listed on the Nasdaq. In three years, Johnson acquired more than $755,000 in illegal profits, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But Johnson’s story got even more interesting when it was uncovered that he had a history of fraud and drug abuse. Three years before he was hired at Nasdaq, he’d been discharged from the U.S. Army Reserves for stealing drugs from the Army hospital where rite smoke electronic cigarettes he worked as a nurse. He also had admitted to falsifying hospital records in order to steal drugs at another hospital. His nursing license was revoked in 1987, and in 1989 he was hired at Nasdaq.

According to Nasdaq, Johnson underwent a background check and a drug test when he applied there. Though times are different now, people are not. Pre-employment screening services dig into a potential employee’s criminal history and employment history to give employers the full picture on the kind of person they’re considering, and what their past says about then.

Johnson’s story is a word of warning to employers who think employee background checks are unnecessary.

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Employers Need to Have Social Networking Policies in Place

Can an employer refuse to hire someone who passes a background screening if, upon reviewing the applicant’s social networking habits, he or she is deemed to be “not right”? 


Though the majority companies would assert that they do, in fact, have the power to refuse to hire someone based on that person’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or MySpace rants, they should absolutely discuss the legality of such matters with an attorney to be sure they are protected.


In fact, a recent Wall Street Journal article urged companies to tread carefully when refusing to hire someone because of their social networking footprints OR when firing a current employee for the same reasons.  Without a social networking policy in place beforehand, any business that does so risks Cialis litigation.


Now, this isn’t to suggest that perusing an applicant’s social networking comments can’t be included as part of the decision to hire… or not to hire.  Under most circumstances, it’s completely reasonable to see what a potential worker is like in a “relaxed” or “unguarded” atmosphere.  But other items, such as background screening results, should always be taken into the deliberation process, too.


If your organization doesn’t have a written policy regarding how you can use social networking in the job application and/or firing process, it’s time to put one together.  After all, social networking isn’t going away and is only likely to become a stronger part of the way business and personal life is conducted.


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NASAs Background Checks Deemed Okay

Contract workers for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently put up a very vocal fight against the background checks performed by their government employer.  The contract workers for NASA stated that they felt that the background screening methods they were expected to to undergo in order to work for NASA were too intrusive and a violation of their privacy rights.


The U.S. Supreme Court felt otherwise.


In an eight-to-zero decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of NASA, stating they had the power to ask contract workers information (including that related to illegal drug use and professional counseling.)


In the words of Justice Alito:  the background checks were “reasonable, employment-related inquiries…  The government’s interests as employer and proprietor in managing its internal operations… satisfy any [privacy issues]…”


Over 70,000 contract workers have been through the background checks per NASA’s request in the past five years; less than one-fifth of one percent have been turned down for employment as a result of background screening.


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