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.
The Association’s guidance is targeted to all employers that utilize employment background checks to vet employees for job opportunities. Company roles in human resources, legal compliance, risk management, finance and general management should review the full press release.
They’re being called the “perversion files” – a record of previously confidential files listing the names of 1,200 Boy Scout of America officials and scoutmasters who are accused of abusing young boys over a period of two decades.
The files released Thursday, October 19 contain more than 15,000 pages detailing accusations of the sexual abuse against scout leaders and officials between 1965 and 1985. The list of names in the documents were deemed “ineligible volunteers” and include those who are accused of sexual abuse towards the minors they came into contact with during boy scout meetings and functions.
Police are now responding to 523 of the alleged cases. The files were kept confidential – until now – and represent all that the Boy Scouts of America could have done to protect their young members, but didn’t. Continue reading
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.
Prior to the NCAA and Big Ten Conference sanctions, board of trustee decisions following the Freeh Report and the release of chilling voicemails left by Jerry Sandusky on a victim’s phone, the looming question of Penn State’s next steps still remain. The image of the university is undoubtedly tarnished after the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse trial revealed university officials sat idle as children were victimized by the former assistant coach to the prestigious football team.
The university is still the subject of a number of investigations and the current president, Rodney Erickson says the university is cooperating fully. [Read more] Following the sanctions levied by the NCAA and Big Ten, credit ratings provider, Moody’s Corporation announced that it may cut the university’s current “Aa1” credit rating. A downgrade from Moody’s could make it more expensive for Penn State to borrow money – the school is already $1 billion in debt. [Read more]
Financial woes aside, the university has already begun taking steps to make a dent in replenishing the image it once had; removing the Joe Paterno statue from campus may not be enough.
Erickson announced earlier this month that the university would adopt a new background check procedure. On July 5, all current and future job candidates (including third-party candidates) must undergo a criminal background check prior to working for the university. HR99 as it’s called incorporates a “more comprehensive procedure that also ensures compliance with recently issued new guidance by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on background checks.”
Associate vice president of Human Resources, Susan Basso, says that “to provide the safest possible environment for our students, faculty, staff and visitors it is imperative that Penn State implements consistent and thorough background check procedures.”
First Contact HR has always recommended that higher education adhere to EEOC guidelines and adopt a comprehensive background check policy that meets their specific needs. No college or university is the same, yet identity verification, criminal records research, sex offender registry checks, employment and education verification and motor vehicle records review are all recommended services for any potential staff member of an educational institution.
Regarding the effectiveness of background checks, Jerry Sandusky had a criminal background and was even denied a volunteer coaching job in 2010 after Juniata College conducted a background check.
HR Professional Opinion:
Higher education institutions should audit their current practices and conduct an objective risk assessment. Student safety and security should be high priority and never subordinate to other objectives of the institution. Conducting comprehensive background checks that are in compliance with federal, state and local laws are key in protecting the institution’s reputation, hiring and retaining the right talent, while creating a culture that matches the institution’s goals, objectives and vision.
Higher education should evaluate all new hires, volunteers and contractors, considering the following factors against the work to be performed or held, the work performance location, and the degree of risk to the organization:
- Any loyalty or terrorism issue;
- Patterns of conduct (e.g., alcoholism/drug addiction, financial irresponsibility/major liabilities, dishonesty, un-employability for Negligence or misconduct, criminal conduct);
- Felony and misdemeanor offenses;
- Drug manufacturing/trafficking/sale;
- Significant honesty issue (e.g., extortion, armed robbery, embezzlement, perjury);
- Criminal sexual misconduct;
- Serious violent behavior (e.g., rape, aggravated assault, arson, child abuse, manslaughter);
- Illegal use of firearms/explosives; and
- Employment related misconduct involving dishonesty, policy violations, criminal or violent behavior.
Further, prior to taking any adverse action against any subject, First Contact HR recommends consideration of the following:
- The nature, extent and seriousness of the conduct;
- The circumstances surrounding the conduct;
- The frequency of the conduct;
- How recently the conduct occurred;
- The individual’s age and maturity at the time of the conduct;
- The presence or absence of rehabilitation and other pertinent behavior changes;
- The potential for pressure, coercion, exploitation, or duress;
- The likelihood of continuation of the conduct;
- How, and if, the conduct bears upon potential job responsibilities; and
- The individual’s employment history before and after the conduct.
There has been a surge in legislation across the U.S. with the goal of curtailing employer use of criminal records that bar employment opportunities for ex-offenders. Take for example the new EEOC guidance on the use of arrest and conviction records and the proliferation of “ban-the-box” laws.
With the enactment of the 2010 Massachusetts Criminal Offender Records Information (CORI) Reform bill, employers face a wave of changes in their use and access to criminal records.
With the increasing number of employers conducting background checks, public concerns have arisen pertaining to the method, use and fairness of such checks in potentially barring applicants from employment.
First Contact HR has compiled a list of the most significant trends that are shaping the background screening industry.
On April 26, 2012 a vice dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Education resigned after questions of his academic background arose. Doug Lynch, a trusted faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania, claims that he has a doctorate. His resume states that he earned his doctorate from Columbia University in 2007, yet Columbia said that he has not yet earned his Ph.D. Additionally, on the Fels institute of Government webpage, Lynch was listed as “Dr. Lynch.”
Prior to quietly resigning following an investigation by the University of Pennsylvania into the authenticity of his claimed doctoral degree, the Philadelphia Inquirer published an article about Lynch being placed on leave. Read more
Fabricating facts and figures on a resume is fraud – and while it is not necessarily a crime, it is certainly a “misdemeanor offense” in the working world. Resume fabrication commonly includes lying about receiving a degree or certification, exaggerating numbers like GPA and dates worked on a particular project or job, inflating titles, providing a fake address, etc.
Those who get caught not only tarnish their reputation, but bad press is directed towards the organization that hired the individual guilty of fraud. Basically, resume fraud doesn’t look good for anyone, hence the importance of conducting education verifications in a pre-employment background check.
This is not the first time we’ve seen organizations in the limelight for hiring employees with fabricated backgrounds. Remember these?
- Ronald Zarrella, Bausch & Lomb chief executive officer claimed to have graduated from New York University’s Stern School of Business. He actually only attended the MBA program from 1972-1976, yet never graduated.
- George O’Leary, ex-Notre Dame football coach resigned five days after being hired after admitting to resume fraud. He claimed that he received his master’s degree in education from New York University, yet he never received that degree. He also lied about playing college football for the University of New Hampshire. This was also inaccurate.
- Dave Edmondson, chief executive of RadioShack claimed to have received degrees in theology and psychology from Pacific Coast Baptist College in California. As it turns out, Edmondson only completed two semesters and that psychology wasn’t even a degree that was offered by the college.
Imagine you discovered the owner of your child’s daycare center was a convicted felony on such crime as battery, assault, domestic violence, grand theft and even manslaughter. Would this information prompt you to pause or re-consider the daycare center you select?
While you might assume that the state in which you live does a thorough background check on daycare owners and employees, you’ll be surprised to know that only 11 states in the U.S. conduct full background checks on potential daycare workers.
In an investigative report conducted by Dateline’s Chris Hansen, many daycares’ true colors were exposed when the investigative team questioned daycare owner’s criminal histories. In one case, it was revealed that Brighter Beginnings Pre School in Clearwater, Florida owner, Melissa Van Cleave has convictions for battery, domestic violence and a DUI, yet is still able to run her daycare.
Under The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines, arrest records should only be used as a bar from employment if pertinent to the position. Child care-related crimes such as sex abuse, battery and manslaughter, for example, could be a bar from employment in the child care industry. Even if your state conducts a background check on a daycare center, it’s important as a parent to ask the right question such as the type of background check conducted, do research, and occasionally visit the daycare unannounced.
Here are some surprising statistics about background checks and child care providers:
- About 12 million children under the age of 5 are in some type of child care setting every week.
- Children may be cared for by an adult other than a parent for 35-45 hours each week.
- 21 states do not conduct fingerprint checks.
- 43 states do not check the sex offender registry for child care staff.
- 24 states do not conduct a fingerprint check for family child care providers.
Most often the First Contact HR blog reports on trends, topics and news relating to background screening and other human resource practices for businesses. However, the need to background screen is not only pertinent to companies seeking to screen employees and applicants, but also to individuals and families seeking to hire a responsible person to provide part-time or full-time services such as childcare, elder care or home-cleaning services.
The need to hire responsible childcare providers is on the rise as the economy continues to rebound and parents find themselves once again gainfully employed. The decision to hire a qualified individual to watch over children while parents and or guardians are absent is one that should not be taken lightly.
The need to screen the individual who will provide childcare to minors is very important and highly recommended. Only two months into the year 2012, and the U.S. has already seen a high number of breaking news stories dealing with unfortunate incidents involving babysitters.
Here are some recent headlines and stories:
Montco Man Charged With Molesting Girl While Advertising Online As Babysitter
After advertising for babysitting jobs, a local man is accused of molesting a child he was supposed to be caring for. We are now learning our reporting is prompting a major online investigation. Read more
Babysitter sentenced to 40 years in prison for toddler’s death
A Springfield woman convicted of murdering an 18-month-old boy for whom she was babysitting was sentenced Tuesday to 40 years in prison. Read more
Babysitter sentenced to 10 years for shaking baby
Washington state woman, who admitted to violently shaking a baby left in her care, received the maximum sentence of 10 years. ”She murdered who my child was supposed to be,” said the child’s mother, Jaime Thompson. Read more
Babysitter pleads not guilty to murder
The 28-year-old Hardin County babysitter who police say beat to death the little girl she was caring for answered to her upgraded charges. Ashley Chapman pled not guilty to murder Tuesday morning. Read more
So what can parents do to protect their children and ensure that those they interview or even find online are trustworthy? Certainly, you can start by hiring a reputable firm to perform a background check on the individual.
Here are some things to keep in mind when performing a babysitter background check:
- You’ll need to get written permission from the applicant prior to performing a background check
- To obtain the most relevant job-related information such as motor vehicle records and sex offender registry information, you will need to obtain information such as previous addresses the applicant lived, a social security number, and birth date.
- Ask prospective babysitters to provide references from previous employers (not friends and family).
- Ask question about work ethic, previous employment responsibility, etc.
- Determine the type of background check you will perform. Background checks can range from a simple social security trace to a full package, thoroughly investigating the individual’s history. Contact a background screening firm such as First Contact HR to either perform the check, or advise you on what background screening plan you should put together.
With sites like Sittercity.com and Care.com, it’s impossible to know the full history of an individual you find online – even after the interview process. Let a background screening and human resource consulting firm help you be certain that you’ve hired the right person to childcare to precious members of your family.