Philadelphia Eagles Player Targeted in Bank Fraud Scheme

Ed Hille/

A Philadelphia Eagles player was the victim of theft by a person he trusted – an employee of a security firm. Late last month, Eagles offensive lineman, Todd Herremans made news headlines, but not for an Eagles victory. A 37-year-old man named Robert von Ryan is charged with bank fraud, allegedly stealing more than $225,000 from Herremans’ bank account.

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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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Hiring Concerns in Philadelphia Building Collapse

Center City, Philadelphia was faced with a tragic event Wednesday, June 5 when a building came crumbling down onto an adjacent building on 22nd and Market Streets. A total of six lives were lost and 13 people injured as rescue crews excavated bodies and survivors from the rubble.

A two-story wall of a building being demolished came down around 10:30am EST onto a neighboring Salvation Army thrift store below. The loss of life in this demolition accident is tragic, and now people are asking the questions: why and how did this happen?

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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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Amidst Boy Scout Child Sex Abuse Scandal, Delaware Valley PA Boy Scout Council Adheres To Rules, Background Checks

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

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New Guidance issued by EEOC on Criminal Background Checks

On April 25, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new Enforcement Guidance on use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions.

As a result, the new EEOC Enforcement Guidance aims to prohibit employers from using “blanket prohibitions” against hiring anyone with any kind of a criminal records, no matter how old the conviction and no matter what the prior offense may have been. When making employment decisions based on conviction records, employers should take a three (3) factor approach:

  • The nature or gravity of the offense or conduct;
  • The time elapsed since the offense, conviction; and/or completion of the sentence; and
  • The nature of the job sought or held.

More specifically, the Enforcement Guidance provides two circumstances in which an employer’s criminal conviction policy will “consistently meet” Title VII’s “job-related” and consistent with business necessity” defense. According to the EEOC, these circumstances include:

  1. employers who are able to validate their use of background screening policies and practices as a business necessity will meet the defense, or;
  2. develop a targeted, three (3) factor screening approach (as outlined above), and provide subjects with criminal records an opportunity for an “individualized assessment.”

Other defenses for employers to consider involve compliance with federal or state laws that are specific to their business. For instance, the FDIC Act requires banks to conduct criminal background checks on applicants and restricts their ability to hire individuals with certain conviction histories. Under these circumstances, this would be valid defense for claim of discrimination brought by an applicant or employee under title VII.


HR Professional Opinion

With the new EEOC Enforcement Guidance in place, here are some best practice tips and action steps for employers to consider:

Best Practice tips for employers:

  • Eliminate policies and practices that impose blanket prohibitions to employment based on any conviction;
  • Do not request arrest records from applicants;
  • Educate and train hiring managers and decision-makers about appropriate use of conviction history in hiring and promotion, and separation;
  • Revise screening procedures to ensure that they are job related and consistent with business necessity;
  • Do not ask applicants for disclosure of convictions that are not job related and consistent with business necessity, and;
  • Keep information about applicants’ and employees’ conviction history confidential.

Employer Action Steps:

  • Review background screening policies and practices in light of the new guidance, and;
  • Make adjustments needed to the extent practices cannot be justified as job related and consistent with business necessity, and;
  • Recruiters and job interviewers must be trained in connection with the EEOC’s Guidance in order to be credible witnesses in any challenge the employer’s hiring, promotion, or separation decision-making.



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More Nonprofits Conduct Background Checks, Criminal Hits Decrease

Over the past five years, the hit rate for criminal background checks has been on the decline as more nonprofit organizations background check their new hires. A recent study’s, data showed that from 2007 to 2011, more than 5.4 million background checks we conducted by nonprofits and 22 percent of those checks resulted in criminal hits.

Of that 22 percent (approximately 479,000), background checks revealed very serious kidnapping, murder, sex-related and drug-related offenses. While it is shocking to know that criminals who have been convicted of kidnapping or molestation could be working amongst children, elders and people in need, we know that criminals go where they know they can get in “under the radar” – organizations [they know] do not conduct background checks.

In organizations working with children, such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, background checks are a must; the study found that 1,021 of the criminal hits were registered sex offenders, 603 convictions for kidnapping and 1,176 murder offenses.

What’s more is that between 2007 and 2011, 22 percent of those criminal hits also included 91,607 drug-related offenses including possession and distribution and 10,438 sex-related offenses. These figures are certainly eye-opening, but the good news is that these were hits, and thus these individuals were barred from employment at the nonprofits where they applied to work. Additionally, the number of criminals has declined over the past five years by 7 percent, according to the study.

The drop in criminal hits is attributed by the nonprofits’ use of background screening programs. When criminals know that nonprofits are conducting background checks, they seek employment somewhere else, so it is important for nonprofits to speak with background screening providers in order to mitigate risk, protect their reputations and those they seek to help.



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Babysitters or Child Predators?

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:

  1. You’ll need to get written permission from the applicant prior to performing a background check
  2. 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.
  3. Ask prospective babysitters to provide references from previous employers (not friends and family).
  4. Ask question about work ethic, previous employment responsibility, etc.
  5. 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 and, 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.


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