Tip of the Month.

Check here for valuable background screening tips that could save you time and thousands of dollars as well as help you never make another bad hiring decision.

5 Ways to Get the Most out of your Background Screening Program

Deters claims of discrimination and limits litigation. Employers that hire for a multitude of positions really need to take a step back and evaluate what type of searches are appropriate for each job they are trying to fill. By conducting a credit report on the staff accountant as opposed to the delivery driver will explicitly…

University Acceptance Scandal: The Importance of Verifying Credentials

We should all learn an important lesson in the wake of the celebrity college cheating scam, in case you have been stuck under a rock a group of individuals (predominantly celebrities and the wealthy) paid large sums of money to a middle man acting as a tutor to cheat on college entry exams like the…

FBI Fingerprint Background Checks Is it really the “Gold Standard”?

If you are a fan of true crime television like Law and Order or NCIS, I’m sure you have seen the episode where they pull a fingerprint off a gun, or car door analyze it and instantly get a full description of the suspect, which enables them to solve the case! In a perfect world…

Ninth Circuit Court Decision Further Complicates the Disclosure and Authorization Form

Signed Consent Forms
One of the main protections offered to consumers/applicants when a background check is procured on them is requiring the employer to get their signed consent and authorization on a “standalone” disclosure and “clear and conspicuous” disclosure requirements pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

What Questions Should Employers Be Asking Their Background Screening Provider?

When employers elect to engage a background screening provider for compliant background checks, there are certain questions they must ask their new vendor.

How do you keep your clients aware of new laws and regulations affecting the background screening industry?

3 Strategies for Hiring the Right Seasonal Employees

As we approach the holidays, employers will start to ramp up seasonal and temporary hiring for the rush season. Due to constant changes in employment screening laws, employers that utilize a seasonal and/or temporary workforce should adhere to our three strategies for hiring the right seasonal employees:

HR Must Know These Three Laws When Screening Applicants

Three Crucial Laws Governing Background Screening
Any seasoned or fairly new human resource professional will tell you their main purpose or duty is to enforce policies and procedures as well as stay compliant with changing laws governing background screening that affect their industry.

There are three major movements that have evolved into laws affecting employers in almost every state:

Top Five Mistakes Employers Make When Hiring

How to Easily Avoid Crucial Hiring Mistakes
Vague Job Postings
Just like any first impression, second chances are not given. For this reason, employers must be clever and transparent when posting a job listing to ensure that they are not leaving anything up for interpretation. One of the most crucial hiring mistakes to avoid would be poorly written job postings.

Explanation of Third-Party Verification Fees for Employment and Education Checks

Employers that elect to conduct background checks on their new hires would be best served to tailor the searches around the duties and responsibilities of the position being sought.

For example, if the position requires that the employee drive during the course of their workday, the company should conduct a driver’s history search.

Top 4 Reasons for Delayed Background Checks

There are many factors that may result in delayed background checks received from a consumer reporting agency (CRA). The most common reasons include international screening, employment and education verification, validation of public records, and required searches such as live scan and fingerprint.

What GDPR is and How It Affects Employers

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was first proposed in 2012; however, it was not enacted by the European Union (EU) Parliament and Council until December 2016. It became effective on May 25, 2018. The GDPR puts forward a policy for data protection with enhanced obligations for businesses and its jurisdiction is global. The GDPR applies to any company (no matter its location) that deliberately offers services or goods to the European Union, or that monitors the behavior of people within the EU.

5 Ways to Avoid Getting Sued for Violating the FCRA

With an increase in litigation brought against employers for violating the FCRA, it is necessary to identify five common themes employers slip up on when conducting backgrounds checks pursuant to the FCRA.

Compliant Disclosures and Authorizations

Tax Lien Information Removed by Three Major Credit Bureaus

The National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP) was implemented by NCRAs such as Experian, Equifax, and Transunion last year in trying to enhance standards placed on credit bureaus reporting public record information from third parties. This plan called for the NCRAs to remove all civil judgments and the have the majority of tax lien information removed from consumer credit reports effective July 2017.

Top 4 Reasons Why Employers Should Implement Pre-Employment Physicals

Labor Intensive Positions
With the evolution of automation and robotics, the majority of manual labor positions have been eliminated. There are certain positions within industries, however, that still require a physically able employee to perform (i.e. construction, manufacturing, and janitorial).

In order for an employer to determine if a job applicant can perform the duties of the job, pre-employment physicals should be conducted. Standard pre-employment physicals are administered by a licensed medical doctor and tailored around the duties and responsibilities of the job.

Employers Must Do These 4 Things When Drug Screening for New Hires

Expedited Expiration for Chain of Custody Forms (CCF)
Employers that send applicants out for drug testing must provide a chain of custody form explaining the type of test to be conducted along with applicant identifiable information, and specimen ID. The CCF form can be delivered in a hard copy triplicate form or electronically with a bar code that is scanned once at the collection site. Employers have the capability to put an expiration date on an electronic CCF and allow the applicant sufficient time to provide their sample. Applicants have a tendency to “run the clock” in order to hide potential drug use by cleaning out their system; therefore, having a 48-hour expiration date on the CCF when drug screening for new hires will ensure the applicant is completing the test in a timely manner.

Evaluating Employee Background Checks and Drug Screening Policies

Revisiting Background and Drug Screening Policies
In light of legislation enforced at the beginning of this year, employers that utilize employment background checks should conduct a “check-up” on their current employment and substance abuse screening policies to ensure compliance.

Revisiting background and drug screening policies is highly encouraged for all organizations of different sizes and industries.

Applicant Tracking Systems Improve the Quality of New Hires

What are Applicant Tracking Systems?
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) exist to help organizations with their most pressing business challenges. This is done by sourcing and retaining qualified individuals, providing comprehensive technology solutions, as well as enabling clients to save time and reduce the administrative burdens associated with high-volume employee recruiting, selection, development, and retention.

AB 168 Prohibits Questions About Previous Compensation

Trends that seems to be following “ban the box” laws are questions pertaining to previous compensation for job applications that are now being prohibited. This means that employers are no longer allowed to ask job applicants about previous wages that they have earned throughout their professional career. On October 13, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 168 (AB 168), which would restrict employers’ usage of salary history (including both compensation and benefits) for determining an applicant’s candidacy for employment opportunities with their organization.

Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s Federal Court Decision on Wright v. Lincoln Property Company

A recent federal court decision out of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Wright v. Lincoln Property Company dealt with how employers can comply with the adverse action process (pursuant to the FCRA) if it relies on an initial background report before revoking a job offer, but then receives an additional corrected report. In the case of Wright v. Lincoln Property Company, the plaintiff Wright was given a conditional job offer contingent upon passing the employment background check. The first report procured on Wright was dated June 6, 2017, as a pending or partial report that uncovered a misdemeanor conviction for driving under the influence, and two separate drug-related felonies.

Dishonest Job Applicants Should Not Be Hired

A recent study uncovered that 85% of individuals in the market for new employment opportunities are dishonest job applicants. The percentage of job applicants that fabricate the information on their resumes these days is higher than the 66% statistic that was reported five years ago. Due to record low unemployment rates, there should be a seemingly lower rate of applicants that feel the need to lie on their resumes in contrast with the formerly aggressive job market that was seen 10 years ago.

Do Not “DIY” Background Checks

In the age of big data, “fly by night companies” have been developed to provide consumers with dirt cheap rates for instant, “reliable” public record information. It is time to uncover the truth about these online databases that encourage employers to use their website and conduct their own background checks.

Does Your Drug Screening Test for Synthetic Urine?

There is no disputing that drug abuse in the workplace is climbing to the highest numbers we have ever seen. Employers also face the growing number of states passing recreational marijuana laws (which contradict federal law that states marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug). As a result, employers must review their drug abuse screening policy, specifically what their organization tests for and what method their organization is using. The vast majority of employers utilize urine as their specimen of choice when screening for drugs; however, there is always a risk that the urine provided by the applicant did not come from the applicant directly. What would happen if the applicant purchased synthetic urine online?

Temporary Employees Should Be Screened Like Direct Hires

Former DHL warehouse worker, Walter Pickett, is a temporary employee that filed a class action lawsuit claiming the logistics conglomerate discriminated against him for having a criminal history. Mr. Pickett wanted to transition as a full-time employee of DHL to take advantage of benefits and job security. He worked successfully for seven months at a DHL Supply Chain warehouse in University Park. Before he was hired for the position of temporary employee, Mr. Pickett disclosed his past criminal history.

Best Practices When Conducting Current Employment Verification

One of the services employers retain us to provide is employment verification. This service is conducted to verify the accuracy of information that an applicant provided on a job application and/or resume submitted to an employer to ensure the applicant is trustworthy and has the experience needed for the specific position being sought. Applicants sometimes exaggerate or falsify employment information and salary history on applications or resumes to fool potential employers into thinking they are more than qualified for the job. We have specific processes and various types of methods that will verify dates of employment, position held, and salary (where available) directly from the applicant’s previous employers, including reasons for leaving, and eligibility for re-hire.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Texas Employer

A Texas law firm recently landed a 1.2 million verdict in a wrongful death lawsuit. The case involved a man named Jacob Matthew Cadriel who was shot by a coworker at his workplace, Indchem, which is a subsidiary of Woven Metal Products. The offense against Jacob Matthew Cadriel was committed by his coworker Steven Damien Young on Wednesday, April 1, 2015. Steven Damien Young was subsequently charged with murder and is serving a 45 year sentence. Woven Metal Products did not have a screening process in place for new hires. If their organization did have a screening process, the wrongful death lawsuit could have been avoided because the background check would have revealed Young’s previous convictions that show previous signs of workplace violence with former employers.

New I-9 Form is Coming, Be Prepared

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released an update version of the form I-9. Pursuant to federal law immigration, employers MUST maintain a compliant properly completed form I-9 for ALL employees hire in the U.S. after November 6, 1986.

The new form which takes effect on January 22, 2017 has added the following updates:

Fair Credit Reporting Act Violations Made by Employers

Now more than ever, employers must adhere to specific federal and state laws when conducting employment background checks. There has been an increase in class action lawsuits brought against employers for violating such laws, especially the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Here are ways employers may easily fall prey to noncompliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act:

Three Reasons Why Employers Should Conduct the Background Screening Check Post-Offer

One of the most common questions we get from hiring executives is, “When do I run the background check, before I hire the person or after?”. The paradigm has shifted to post-offer background check with the recent “ban the box” legislation and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforcement.

We will look at three reasons why background checks should be conducted post-offer:

Compliance Assessment of Background Screening Programs

In order to ensure your organization is in full compliance with all the recent state and federal changes related to employment background checks, Employers Choice Screening will conduct a free, no obligation compliance assessment of your current background screening program to ensure that your organization is using the proper documentation and following the correct procedures. This entire review will last approximately 45 minutes.

Using a Social Security Trace Properly

The only way to ensure that you are performing an accurate county-level criminal records search is to search in every jurisdiction the applicant has resided in during a specified period of time (usually 7 years). But how do you know which jurisdictions should be searched?

Social Security Verification vs. E-Verify

There is some confusion as to the difference between verifying a social security number, and authorizing one’s eligibility to work in the United States (E-Verify). Due to the increased number of “e-raids” that the Department of Homeland Security is conducting on businesses, organizations must ensure that they’re employing applicants who are authorized to work in the United States, which can be achieved in two ways:

Employment Physicals

Certain industries require specific background searches to be conducted on prospective employees. Employers Choice Screening, for example, stresses the importance of screening applicants for tuberculosis if they will be handling food, caring for the elderly, or managing children. Employment physicals are also recommended for organizations with job duties that require labor intensive tasks such as construction, public safety, and manufacturing.

Seasonal Hires and Temporary Staff

Certain industries require specific searches to be conducted on prospective employees. For instance, we stress the importance of screening applicants that will be handling food, or caring for the elderly/children, for tuberculosis. We also recommend employment physicals for companies that are in labor intensive industries, like construction, public safety, and manufacturing. Employers can’t ask about an applicant’s physical well being on an employment application due to the Americans with Disabilities Act

Education Verification

Make sure when you hire high level managers or executives, you are conducting education verification on any and all education they are claiming. Remember background screening companies can only “verify” education and not “investigate” an applicant’s educational history.

Employment Decision from Pending Background Checks

The responsibilities of hiring managers are finding the right applicants for the right positions, and making a well-informed employment decision.

In some cases, organizations have lost out on valuable, high-level applicants because the background check conducted on them took too long to complete. This has prompted Human Resource (HR) professionals to make their employment decision based on pending or partial background checks. This is the wrong course of action and frankly, reckless on the organization’s part in numerous ways because many times, some records may be either inaccurate and/or incomplete.

When to Screen Current Employees

We constantly get inquiries from our clients regarding when and if it’s appropriate to conduct background checks on current employees. Our first response is to ask if a background screening policy is already in place (having an existing policy limits the employer’s exposure to discrimination claims), and specifically is language exists in that policy pertaining to background checks on current employees. A policy should specifically explain when a current employee may be subjected to a background check. For instance:

Disclosure on Website that Background Checks are Conducted

The majority of employers now allow applicants to complete formal job applications online. We feel it would be ideal to include a written disclosure on their websites which states that the organization conducts background checks.

Pre-Adverse/Adverse Action Compliance

Remember to follow the pre-adverse/adverse action process to ensure your compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Recently a large background screening firm was slapped with a $2.6 million civil penalty by the Federal Trade Commission for violating FCRA regulations. One of the crucial sections of the FCRA they were found to have violated was the applicant pre-adverse/adverse action process. When an employer elects to take adverse action (i.e. chooses not to hire an applicant) based on a background screening report the employer is legally obligated to inform the applicant in writing and provide them with an opportunity to dispute the information, should it be erroneous.

Running a Nationwide Criminal Search in Conjunction with a County Level Criminal Search

Conducting a cursory nationwide criminal database search on its own, independent of any other searches should never be considered a proper criminal background check.

However, running a nationwide criminal search in conjunction with a county level criminal search could reveal additional criminal offenses that may otherwise have been missed.

Employers Must Review Entire Background Check Report

Employers are required to review all completed reports provided by their Credit Reporting Agency (CRA) provider to validate that the information received is accurate and up to date. Most importantly, employers must look for any adverse information that could potentially prevent the subject of the report from being hired for the position

Tip #1: Are Background Checks Legal?

When an employer decides to hire or promote an employee they should have a non-discriminatory legally compliant background screening program in place. Not only does this help employers ensure they are hiring the right person for the position, it also limits exposure to negligent hiring claims.

Why It Is A Good Idea To Do Background Checks

For each “tip of the month” this year we will focus on 12 different recommendations for creating a non-discriminatory employment background screening program.

When an employer decides to hire or promote an employee they should have a non-discriminatory legally compliant background screening program in place. Not only does this help employers ensure they are hiring the right person for the position, it also limits exposure to negligent hiring claims.

Will The Applicant Know About A Background Check?

For each “tip of the month” this year we will focus on 12 different recommendations for creating a non-discriminatory employment background screening program.

When an employer decides to hire or promote an employee they should have a non-discriminatory legally compliant background screening program in place. Not only does this help employers ensure they are hiring the right person for the position, it also limits exposure to negligent hiring claims.

What are the Legal Ramifications or Restrictions for Conducting Background Checks?

For each “tip of the month” this year we will focus on 12 different recommendations for creating a non-discriminatory employment background screening program.

When an employer decides to hire or promote an employee they should have a non-discriminatory legally compliant background screening program in place. Not only does this help employers ensure they are hiring the right person for the position, it also limits exposure to negligent hiring claims.

Five Steps to Challenge Social Media Screening

The use of social media profiles by employers as a screening tool has evolved over the last few years. Certain states have implemented laws prohibiting employers from asking job applicants to provide their personal Facebook account login information. Employers now have to craft their own policy pertaining to these types of searches, not to mention the potential liability for discriminating against certain protected classes if your organization uses social media information to make a hiring decision (especially in the state of California).

Research Your New Hires!


Workplace Violence
One out of every six crimes occurs in the workplace and homicide is the second leading cause of workplace death in the U.S.

Education Falsification
National Credit Verification Service reports that 25% of the MBA degrees it verifies on resumes are false.

72% of shrinkage is due to employee theft.
34% of all job applications contain lies.
30% of small business failure is caused by employee theft.