Your new potential hire has just left your office following a final interview. You feel great about their attitude and they appear to have the pedigree of a top candidate. They have all the signs for success: a resume full of great experience, stories about converting tough clients, and the charisma/charm and character you’ve only ever read about in hiring books.
It’s well into the holiday season now, and a familiar sight to see while shopping for those last minute holiday gifts are the Salvation Army Red Kettle bell ringers. If you’re feeling the spirit of the season and you decide to donate to the cause, it may surprise you to hear that the Salvation Army did not perform a background check on the volunteer taking your money. See video below by WKYC:
A new law signed by Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Corbett, mandates background checks on public, private and vocational school workers. School district administrators must notify all employees of the law and return a form reporting any criminal history to the Pennsylvania State Education Association completed by employees. Certain convictions will lead to employment suspensions or even termination including first-, second-, or third-degree felonies, aggravated assault, kidnapping, and other crimes. Read more
How background checks are conducted in Clark County, Nevada Schools.
The Las Vegas Sun investigates how background checks are done, after a teacher in a Clark County school was arrested on suspicion of drug possession and theft of school property. In an investigative interview, the chief human resources officer and former interim chief human resources officer of the Clark County School District answered questions on their background check procedures. Read more
Update: Background Checks Dealing with School Workers Clarified.
A new law, §1-111 Act 24 of 2011, mandates that all Pennsylvania elementary schools must background screen all new hires and existing staff for criminal history. The form that current staff must fill out asks employees to check “arrested,” “convicted,” “never been arrested,” or “never been convicted,” however the law states that only convictions of employees need to be reported. In a response to concerns surrounding this contradiction, a statement was released to clarify the law.
A publication from Fox Rothschild LLP states that “these amendments restrict those people that a school is allowed to hire, but they have almost no direct impact on the employment of those already employed. Some school administrators have mistakenly stated that these amendments require schools to fire a current employee where a prior conviction for a barred offense comes to light. While this may be true in some limited cases, it is generally not so, and neither this statute nor the companion provision in §5-527 requires termination of employment.” Read more
Convicted felon employed at middle school steals jewelry, computers
After a middle school janitor was charged in connection to jewelry and computer thefts, the School Committee Chairman of a Massachusetts school wants to know more about the school’s criminal background screening procedures. Court documents showed that the janitor pled guilty to assault and battery and breaking and entering charges in the past. Also, he was allegedly in an outpatient drug treatment program for an opiates addiction. Initial reports in the same case were for stolen MacBook Computers, iPads and other equipment. How did a criminal get employed at an elementary school? Read more
Each week we will be answering common questions we get on background checks, drug testing and other HR industry practices. Got a question? Ask us at info@FirstContactHR.com
Question #3: Why do I need a “background screening” firm? Isn’t most information about a person’s background online?
Contrary to popular opinion, criminal and other searches are not ‘available online. Very few county court records are accessible online, and then only with special access procedures and fees. Most of the advertised sources of online criminal history do not come directly from the courts, but is retrieved from databases that are not always accurate or current.
Always ask if their searches are direct from the originating source or are they simply pulled from a purchased database. To learn more about internet searches, read a previous post on Internet background searches.
For more questions and answers, visit www.FirstContactHR.com and just Ask!
When bringing a new employee on board, there’s no telling what their previous employment or criminal background was, apart from what they told you. As a hiring manager, it can sometimes be difficult to read a person who may be lying during the interview process or even trust that the background check you did was 100% accurate.
Sometimes state repositories for criminal convictions are inaccurate and not up to date, so companies can end up hiring individuals with criminal backgrounds. Another loophole in criminal record background checks is that companies will only conduct the search within the hiring state. Nowadays, most employers will conduct background checks on new employees, but if the search is limited to only the current state of residence, they could end up hiring employees with criminal records – some of them with very serious charges.
Often times, criminal records are not discovered if people committed the crimes out of state. Alternatively, employers can better protect themselves and their clients by conducting more comprehensive criminal record searches, to include but not limited to:
- Conducting county-level criminal records research everywhere a person lived, worked or attended school;
- Running a multi-jurisdictional database scan, along with county-level criminal records searches, and;
- Conducting sex offender searches in each state of residence in addition to the research mentioned above.
Change of name and address also makes it difficult to background check employees or potential employees for criminal history. With a social security trace and/or address history search as part of the background check, hiring managers can make sure they are searching the right names, aliases, counties and states for a more complete picture of an employee’s background.
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About: First Contact HR provides employment screening services, including drug and alcohol testing, identity validations, criminal and credit records research, attitude and knowledge testing, driving records, identification badges and employment and education verifications.