Government Shutdown and its Impact on HR

For the first time in 17 years, portions of the united states government are closed as the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White house were unable to reach an agreement to fund the federal government for the 2014 fiscal year.

While the affects of this government shutdown are broad and far reaching, the main cause for concern for human resource professionals should be that a number of government organizations such as; e-verify, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), have been either shutdown or severely limited.

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Top 10 Background Check Trends for 2013

The rising popularity of background checks has given rise to new trends for vetting new hires and employees by organizations across the U.S.The growth of background checks also permeates other areas such as screening of volunteers, contractors, business partners, board members, housing tenants and even purchasers of guns. Here’s a list of the latest 10 ten trends for 2013 complied by First Contact HR.

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Why You Need To Background Check [Infographic]

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.

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State Laws Restricts Employers’ Use of Social Security Numbers

In recent years identity protection has become an increasingly big deal. Specifically, the handling of Social Security Numbers (SSNs) by companies has been reworked in a number of states in order to better safeguard their employees against identity theft. The sudden concern arose primarily due to companies putting employee’s financial information at risk for years by asking for SSNs in places they really do not need to be. Identification cards, employment applications, pay stubs, mail, or even the electronic transmission of SSNs via the internet all unnecessarily heighten the risk for identity theft. With today’s criminals consistently finding new ways to exploit inadequate security systems, it’s important that companies and employers strive to cut down on excessive exposure of sensitive information.

In most states across the U.S. it is illegal to do the following:

  • · Publicly display or post more than the last four digits of SSNs.
  • · Print SSNs on employees’ badges, parking permits or timecards.
  • · Require people to use their SSN to access a website unless encrypted or over a secure connection.
  • · Use more than the last four digits to access a website unless a password or other unique identifier is also required.
  • · Use more than the last four digits of an SSN as an employee number.
  • · Send SSNs through the mail, unless the documents are applications or other such forms; and then SSNs must not be visible through a windowed envelope.
  • · Keep unsecured files containing SSNs and allow non authorized personnel access to such files.

The California Office of Privacy Protection has put together a set of recommendations, click here, for any entities who wish to tighten up their SSN practices.

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You Ask, We Answer

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

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 and just Ask!

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Welcome to the FCHR Blog

This is the official company blog for First Contact HR. Here, you can expect to find content ranging from hiring insights from professionals in the filed of human resources, company newsletters, information about upcoming events and industry presentations, and general information of what’s going on with First Contact HR!

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.



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