BULLETIN: HR MANAGER, PLANT MANAGER, AN HR INTERN, AND TWO OTHER EMPLOYEES KILLED BY EMPLOYEE BEING FIRED

March 1st, 2019   •   Blog   •   Comments Off on BULLETIN: HR MANAGER, PLANT MANAGER, AN HR INTERN, AND TWO OTHER EMPLOYEES KILLED BY EMPLOYEE BEING FIRED   

Five employees, all carrying out their duties, are shot and killed by a disgruntled employee. Others, including five police officers, are injured. Yes, it can, and unfortunately does happen—to managers, leaders in the organization, and employees at every level.

Recent news reports bring to light the horrific events at a manufacturing plant in suburban Chicago.

  • Reportedly a 1995 felony conviction was not found when the background check was conducted.

RefCheck Speaks: This is an unfortunate example of why we encourage senior leadership to be intimately involved in the background-checking process. The perpetrator was a 15-year employee, so he would have been hired sometime in 2004. While the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the federal law that covers employment background checks, does not limit the time that felony records can be reported by a CRA (Consumer Reporting Agency), typically, criminal background records are searched seven years back. If an employer wishes research further back, s/he should make arrangements for those searches. It is important that leaders understand exactly what work is being conducted when a criminal record search is ordered, such as:

  • Where will the search be conducted? Only one county? Multiple counties based on locations where the candidate has lived, worked, or attended school?
  • How far back will the records be searched?

Only conducting criminal-record searches gives employers a false sense of security. These searches do not provide information about the candidate’s behaviors, skills, ability and willingness to carry out the duties of the job, ability and willingness to follow safety rules, ability to respect authority, attendance and punctuality, and relationships in the workplace, to list a few. It is only through thorough, focused, reference checks that this information can be captured. Further, the effort made by the employer to contact former employers serves as excellent documentation to support their due diligence.


Endera recently released the results of research they commissioned to survey 200 security executives in companies with more than 1,000 employees. The report, Security Executives on the Future of Insider Threat Management, offers important information for employers, regardless of size.

Key findings of the survey:

  • “Almost 40% of respondents indicated that their workforce had lost confidence in the organization’s ability to keep them safe.”

RefCheck Speaks: Employers have a moral and fiscal obligation to protect their employees and customers. The report provides solid data about safety concerns among employees. Such concerns affect a company’s ability to recruit and retain talent as well as its morale and culture.

  • “75% of respondents report that their organizations conduct background checks prior to hiring members of the workforce, but just under half (48%) report that these checks are continued on a periodic basis….88% of security executives agree that continuously evaluating workforce risk will help their company better understand and prepare for risks. At the moment, none of the respondents noted that they conduct post-hire background checks….”

RefCheck speaks: Things happen; employees change. To assume that pre-hire checks will suffice poses a great risk to the employer.

  • “…Nearly half (48%) of the security executives say that the information in background checks is not detailed enough…and 84% state that they could improve the way they use the background-check results to mitigate the ongoing risk with their organization.”

RefCheck Speaks: The only surprise in this data is that it is only 48% of respondents who are aware of the fact that background checks are not detailed enough. Employers, and those who carry out the background-checking process, must understand that background checks are a critical step in mitigating the risks of workplace violence, that they information they request of their provider is adequate, and that the information received is taken seriously.

RefCheck is committed to partnering with and supporting employers who are serious about workplace safety.


To become a RefCheck® client, register today.

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About the Author

Zuni Corkerton is the Founder and President of RefCheck® Information Services, Inc., a human resources-based firm that focuses on providing stellar employers with in-depth–not generic–background-screening services. She founded the company in 1986, when as director of employee relations for a regional bank she found that hiring blind was not a sound business option. She needed solid, objective, job-related background information on the bank’s candidates. RefCheck® helps employers to perform their due diligence in the selection process in order to protect their employees, and to protect their organizations from the risks inherent in the selection process: employee theft, workplace violence, and negligent-hiring and negligent-retention allegations. Adherence to federal and state laws is of paramount importance to the company.

Please call (800-510-4010, x 12) or email Zuni (zcorkerton@refcheck.com) to schedule a free, confidential analysis of your current screening practices, and to determine how RefCheck® can help you to mitigate risk, protect your bottom line, and improve hiring.

Notice: Nothing in the material provided is intended to be or should be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are strongly advised to seek legal counsel. The author is not an attorney, and the information provided is for informational purposes only. Neither the author nor RefCheck® is engaged in rendering legal advice.

Bulletin: $2.3 MILLION SETTLEMENT IN DELTA AIRLINES SETTLES FCRA CLASS ACTION

January 31st, 2019   •   Blog   •   Comments Off on Bulletin: $2.3 MILLION SETTLEMENT IN DELTA AIRLINES SETTLES FCRA CLASS ACTION   

Delta Airlines and a class representative for employees and prospective employees have reached a proposed settlement. The settlement now must be approved by the courts, but it points to the high risks of non-compliance with the FCRA.

Schofield v. Delta Air Lines, Inc. alleges that Delta failed to include adequate disclosures in the forms provided to current and prospective employees, thus violating the FCRA as well as three California statutes. As is often the case in this type of litigation, the plaintiffs also allege that the forms violate the FCRA because they do not meet the fair-and-conspicuous requirements of the FCRA, and they contained extraneous information.

The class is composed of 44,100 individuals.

Recommendation: The FCRA is very specific as to the steps to be taken when conducting background checks through a third party, and as most employers recognize, it is nearly impossible for an employer to re-create what a professional screening company can provide in terms of background checks. Violations of the disclosure and authorization requirements of the FCRA often land employers in court, and yet these requirements are relatively easy to implement once the proper document is created. These violations are also easy targets for professional plaintiffs who work to “catch” companies’ failure to adhere to the Act.

Companies operating in California should be particularly vigilant, as the state has additional laws and much-stricter interpretations of the FCRA. For consistency and ease of implementation, they may choose to adopt the California requirements for all states where they operate.


To become a RefCheck® client, register today.

Get up-to-the minute industry developments with our complimentary monthly newsletter. Subscribe now!

About the Author

Zuni Corkerton is the Founder and President of RefCheck® Information Services, Inc., a human resources-based firm that focuses on providing stellar employers with in-depth–not generic–background-screening services. She founded the company in 1986, when as director of employee relations for a regional bank she found that hiring blind was not a sound business option. She needed solid, objective, job-related background information on the bank’s candidates. RefCheck® helps employers to perform their due diligence in the selection process in order to protect their employees, and to protect their organizations from the risks inherent in the selection process: employee theft, workplace violence, and negligent-hiring and negligent-retention allegations. Adherence to federal and state laws is of paramount importance to the company.

Please call (800-510-4010, x 12) or email Zuni (zcorkerton@refcheck.com) to schedule a free, confidential analysis of your current screening practices, and to determine how RefCheck® can help you to mitigate risk, protect your bottom line, and improve hiring.

Notice: Nothing in the material provided is intended to be or should be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are strongly advised to seek legal counsel. The author is not an attorney, and the information provided is for informational purposes only. Neither the author nor RefCheck® is engaged in rendering legal advice.

Bulletin: Recent Workplace Violence and Walmart Class Action Lawsuit Certifies 5 Million

January 21st, 2019   •   Blog   •   Comments Off on Bulletin: Recent Workplace Violence and Walmart Class Action Lawsuit Certifies 5 Million   

Workplace Violence – Contract Employee Kills One, Leaves Another in Critical Condition 

Evan Lyndell Parker, a contract employee who had been assigned to Orizon Industries outside of Houston, Texas, a steel fabrication plant, is accused in the stabbing death of a 64-year-old night-shift supervisor to death in mid-January. Another employee, who attempted to intervene, was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Recommendation: Employers must be aware of the fact that the actions of a contract employee can expose their company to litigation when that individual is involved in an act of violence. Employers utilizing contracting companies are encouraged to review the company’s background-checking processes to ascertain that they match the employer’s own processes of due diligence before contracting with them.

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5-Million Walmart Applicants and Employees Now Certified as a Class for FCRA Violations

On Thursday, January 17, 2019, a California federal judge certified the proposed class action alleging that Walmart violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when it failed to follow FCRA requirements to properly notify workers and applicants of its intention to obtain background checks.

Recommendation: The FCRA is very specific as to the steps to be taken when conducting background checks through a third party, and as most employers recognize, it is nearly impossible for an employer to re-create what a professional screening company can provide in terms of background checks. Violations of the disclosure and authorization requirements often land employers in court, and yet these requirements are relatively easy to implement once the proper document is created. These violations are also easy targets for professional plaintiffs who work to “catch” companies’ failure to adhere to the Act.

Companies operating in California should be particularly vigilant, as the state has additional laws and much-stricter interpretations of the FCRA. For consistency and ease of implementation, they may choose to adopt the California requirements for all states where they operate.


To become a RefCheck® client, register today.

Get up-to-the minute industry developments with our complimentary monthly newsletter. Subscribe now!

About the Author

Zuni Corkerton is the Founder and President of RefCheck® Information Services, Inc., a human resources-based firm that focuses on providing stellar employers with in-depth–not generic–background-screening services. She founded the company in 1986, when as director of employee relations for a regional bank she found that hiring blind was not a sound business option. She needed solid, objective, job-related background information on the bank’s candidates. RefCheck® helps employers to perform their due diligence in the selection process in order to protect their employees, and to protect their organizations from the risks inherent in the selection process: employee theft, workplace violence, and negligent-hiring and negligent-retention allegations. Adherence to federal and state laws is of paramount importance to the company.

Please call (800-510-4010, x 12) or email Zuni (zcorkerton@refcheck.com) to schedule a free, confidential analysis of your current screening practices, and to determine how RefCheck® can help you to mitigate risk, protect your bottom line, and improve hiring.

Notice: Nothing in the material provided is intended to be or should be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are strongly advised to seek legal counsel. The author is not an attorney, and the information provided is for informational purposes only. Neither the author nor RefCheck® is engaged in rendering legal advice.

2018 Review and 2019 Outlook and Hiring Strategies

January 9th, 2019   •   Blog   •   Comments Off on 2018 Review and 2019 Outlook and Hiring Strategies   

2018 Overview


Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Compliance

The intent of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), is to protect consumers who are subject to employment-related background and reference checks. It is enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

In 2018 FCRA lawsuits became all too commonplace for employers who conduct background checks through a third party (known as Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) such as RefCheck®). In the course of litigation, a CRA’s history of litigation and sanctions (as well as the employer’s), will certainly come under scrutiny. Employers are therefore wise to choose their background-screening partner carefully. In more than 32 years in business RefCheck has never been named in a lawsuit, nor have our practices been reviewed or sanctioned by any regulatory agency.

2018 saw settlements related to alleged violations of the FCRA continue. Among others, significant financial repercussions to companies not in compliance included:

  • A $3.3 million settlement in a case involving a CRA;
  • A $1.3 million settlement against a healthcare firm;
  • A $1.2 million settlement against a subsidiary bottling plant of PepsiCo;
  • A $2.4 million settlement against Frito-Lay; and
  • A $1.2 million settlement against Petco.

This list serves as a reminder that even the largest of organizations, which one would expect to have the legal resources to ensure adherence/compliance, can run afoul of the FCRA.

 

Ban the Box and Salary History

Ban the Box continued to present challenges to employers in 2018. More than 150 cities and counties, as well as 34 states, have now passed Ban the Box laws, which prohibit employers from obtaining criminal record data at the time an application for employment is completed. Additionally, laws prohibiting employers from seeking salary history information are also becoming more prevalent, in an effort to narrow the gender wage gap.

Example of companies that reached agreements with the Massachusetts Attorney General in 2018 for alleged violations of the state’s Ban the Box statute: Five Guys Burger and Fries, L’Occitane, Edible Arrangements, and The Walking Company.

 

Résumé Fraud

When qualified candidates are hard to come by, employers feel the pressure to fill positions. The rigors of due diligence may be loosened, as candidates continue to inflate former job titles, or “adjust” dates of employment to hide an unsuccessful stint at an unreported employer. The consequences to the employer remain the same: Matters of ethics, poor cultural matches, and likely occurrences of bullying and workplace violence.

 

 

Workplace Violence

The unfortunate trend of workplace violence continued in 2018.  A few examples:

  1. An employee who had been fired from Warren Paving in Gulfport, Mississippi, returned to the workplace and fired shots into the building.
  2. A male employee of Flex-N-Gate, a company in Ontario, Canada, attacked a female co-worker. The attack was so vicious that he was charged with attempted murder.
  3. At J&R Engineering in Barberton, Ohio two employees were involved in an altercation. One of them produced a gun and shot his co-worker.

 

Sexual Harassment

A year after the #MeToo movement stormed through our society, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in an unusual press release, published its preliminary sexual harassment data for fiscal year 2018. The report shows a 50 percent increase in cases with allegations of sexual harassment over 2017.

New charges of sexual harassment filed with the EEOC jumped to more than 7,500 cases (a 12 percent increase over 2017). This was the first increase in eight years.

In 2017 the agency recovered $47.5 million through litigation and administrative enforcement. In 2018 the number jumped to nearly $70 million.

 

Executive Outlook and Recommended Hiring Strategies for 2019

 

Compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act

Maneesha Mithal, Associate Director of the FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, has reported that “vigorous” enforcement of the FCRA remains a top priority for the agency.

Recommendation: Employers are urged to remain current in FCRA requirements and to review their policies, procedures, and day-to-day practices as they relate to employment background checks. For 2019 our advice remains the same: Make sure that HR leadership and legal counsel have adequate training in the requirements and nuances of the FCRA.

 

Ban the Box and Salary History

Recommendation: It is imperative that employers seek legal counsel on matters pertaining to Ban the Box and pre-employment salary history questions.

 

Résumé Fraud

Résumé fraud is a business reality; it does and will continue to occur. The question is, “How much of a lie, or how many, am I willing to overlook, not only from entry-level applicants, but also from executive-level candidates and prospective board members?” The Yahoo! résumé fraud incident with Scott Thompson, then-president of the company, brought to light the far-reaching implications of résumé fraud. The discovery resulted in his departure, and ultimately led to allegations of malfeasance against some board members for not exercising due diligence in vetting the president, as well as questions regarding some board members’ own reported credentials.

Today there are online services that show candidates how to “fill the gaps” in their employment history and how to get fake references. False college degree documents, complete with transcripts and letters of recommendation, can be had for as little as $199.

Recommendations: As you consider your company’s tolerance for misinformation, employers are urged to look beyond the “white lie” or the excuses the applicant offers to explain the overlooked “mistake.” Résumé fraud can be an indicator of future “misinformation.”

Consider what information you will confirm on each and every candidate. Confirmation of reported education, dates of employment, and reason for their departure from an employer—particularly a recent employer—are baseline steps in conducting thorough background checks. These are items which, if not fully vetted, can have a significant negative impact on your organization.

 

Workplace Violence

Before an employer is forced to deal with anger management in the workplace, it is best to take proactive steps to avoid such a hire in the first place.

Recommendations: It is nearly impossible to eliminate the threat of workplace violence completely, but effective utilization of the tools available to employers, particularly thorough reference checks, can significantly reduce the risk of hiring an individual who is likely to commit a crime at work. Keep in mind that workplace violence is not only the use of a weapon. It’s bullying, it’s disrespect for co-workers and managers, it’s unwillingness to follow directions and adhere to safety rules. The commitment to providing a safe workplace results in better, safer hires. Criminal records are an effective but limited tool—they net exactly what the term implies: a criminal history, if there is one. Armed with information from references, an employer is in a better position to understand the candidate’s history prior to making the decision to hire.

 

Sexual Harassment

The #MeToo movement brought sexual harassment into the national limelight. No longer can employers turn a blind eye to it, or ignore it in its hiring practices.

Victoria Lipnic, acting director of the EEOC, said, “[In 2017] we were acting on [sexual harassment] with every tool available to us….One of the overarching concerns that I’ve had over this past year is that with so much focus on these big celebrity-driven and media-driven pieces, [it might get lost that] the people who come to the EEOC are also working in mom-and-pop shops and small companies. This stuff happens everywhere. If you don’t address it in your workplace, you could find yourself on the receiving end of federal enforcement.” The financial implications, as seen in the EEOC’s reported recovery of $70 million in 2018, is today’s reality for all employers, large and small.

Recommendations:  Given the EEOC’s focus on sexual harassment, it is imperative that leaders in every organization recognize not only the moral value of eliminating sexual harassment in their organization, but also the financial implications of failing to do so. While effective policies, training, and other traditional ways of addressing sexual harassment may be in place, pre-employment screening is a critical tool in eliminating candidates who may pose a threat to individuals in your organization and to the bottom line.

 

In addition to our day-to-day work with clients conducting thorough reference and background checks, we also offer management consulting services in two key areas:

  • Employment application review. The application is the employer’s best tool to obtain the necessary information to conduct effective background checks, yet many forms are out of date and do not request the necessary information. We are pleased to offer our clients a review of their current employment application and make recommendations on changes.
  • FCRA Audit. We will review your process, ensuring that the requirements of the FCRA are in place.

If RefCheck can be of assistance to you as you build, grow, and mature your business and hiring practices, we’re here to help. Please contact me at zcorkerton@refcheck.com, or call me at 800-510-4010, x 12.

 



To become a
 RefCheck® client, register today.

Get up-to-the minute industry developments with our complimentary monthly newsletter. Subscribe now!

About the Author

Zuni Corkerton is the Founder and President of RefCheck® Information Services, Inc., a human resources-based firm that focuses on providing stellar employers with in-depth–not generic–background-screening services. She founded the company in 1986, when as director of employee relations for a regional bank she found that hiring blind was not a sound business option. She needed solid, objective, job-related background information on the bank’s candidates. RefCheck® helps employers to perform their due diligence in the selection process in order to protect their employees, and to protect their organizations from the risks inherent in the selection process: employee theft, workplace violence, and negligent-hiring and negligent-retention allegations. Adherence to federal and state laws is of paramount importance to the company.

Please call (800-510-4010, x 12) or email Zuni (zcorkerton@refcheck.com) to schedule a free, confidential analysis of your current screening practices, and to determine how RefCheck® can help you to mitigate risk, protect your bottom line, and improve hiring.

Notice: Nothing in the material provided is intended to be or should be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are strongly advised to seek legal counsel. The author is not an attorney, and the information provided is for informational purposes only. Neither the author nor RefCheck® is engaged in rendering legal advice.

Better Call RefCheck for Background Checks

September 19th, 2018   •   Blog   •   Comments Off on Better Call RefCheck for Background Checks   

Better Call Saul Employer Episode

If you saw the August 13 episode of Better Call Saul did you wonder if we had paid the creators in order to help employers? We did not, of course, but a valuable lesson about the importance of pre-employment background checks was provided nevertheless.

Background information: Jimmy is an attorney whose practice was struggling. To change that fact he buys air time, but now finds himself unable to use it, since he is not allowed to practice law for one year (for forging documents, no less). Since he has already paid for the time, he decides to use it for another venture—making commercials for local businesses, but he can’t use his “lawyer” name, so he reinvents himself as Saul Goodman (how he arrives at that name is interesting).

 

background checks uncover criminal behavior

Jimmy Looks for a Job

In this particular episode Jimmy decides that in addition to doing commercials he needs to find a job. We see him interviewing for a position selling copiers. Falling back on his years of working in a mailroom, he’s able to “talk copiers”, and he and one of the interviewers reminisce about the astounding capabilities of older models. The interviewer casually mentions that one of the old copiers could make excellent copies of $5 bills. (Jimmy also notices the Hummel figurines collection; he knows about those, and their worth, too.) Moving into the interview, the two interviewers briefly ask him about his being an attorney and why is he applying for a job selling copiers. Jimmy confidently tells them some story that they buy, and before they can ask the next obvious question—do you have any sales experience? He offers a confident response: as an attorney he did a lot of selling! He “sold” his clients into accepting settlements that he thought were a wise move; he sold, he sold, he sold while practicing law. He also tells them, “Stubbornness and persuasiveness are two of my top qualities.” He’s smooth…very smooth. He knows key traits of a salesperson, he knows the body language, he exudes confidence.

The Sales Spiel

The interviewers thank Jimmy for coming in and tell him they’ll get back to him. But remember, he’s out of work, and he needs the money. He starts to walk out, pauses, and strides back in. He goes into a long and confident sales spiel about how a good copier can make or break a business: how it improves productivity, how it affects morale, etc. The managers are duly wowed, shake his hand, and offer him the job on the spot. This guy is exactly what they need! Strong sales skills, confidence, he’s hungry, he knows the product, he’s driven. They simply can’t let him get away, or worse, risk giving the competition a chance to hire him!

Jimmy Declines the Job Offer

Now for the best part—and again, we did not pay for this “commercial”: they tell him he’s hired, and his response is, “What?! I’m hired?! Just like that?! Are you out of your mind?!” He rebukes then for having allowed themselves to be “sold” by a candidate about whom they know nothing, and tells them he could be a serial killer or someone who would do unsavory things once hired, and he sternly admonishes them for offering jobs to people WITHOUT DOING BACKGROUND CHECKS! He rejects the offer (of course! Who wants to work with people whose backgrounds haven’t been checked, right?) and tells them they are naïve and/or gullible (in not-so-nice terms).

Even Jimmy, whose moral compass is certainly skewed, recognizes the need for employers to protect themselves from people like him, especially when it means giving access to extensive Hummel collections and equipment that can copy $5 bills. His denial of the position hints at the fact that he knows it would not end well for the company or himself if he were to accept the position.

An employer may not have Hummels and copiers to make counterfeit $5 bills, but what comparable risks exist? Passwords? Theft? Access to client accounts? Access to financials?

 

What intangibles are also at risk? Workplace violence? Lowered morale? Poor customer experiences? Poor performance? Diminished productivity? Poor accountability (what might a Jimmy McGill  do when he’s supposed to be making sales calls?)

 

What damage could a Jimmy McGill do to your organization?

 

No, we really did not pay for this segment, but we thank them on behalf of all employers who will benefit from it.

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To become a RefCheck® client go to https://refcheck.com/register/.

Get up-to-the minute industry developments with our complimentary monthly newsletter. Subscribe now!

About the Author

 

 

 

 

 

Zuni Corkerton is the Founder and President of RefCheck® Information Services, Inc., a human resources-based firm that focuses on providing stellar employers with in-depth–not generic–background-screening services. She founded the company in 1986, when as director of employee relations for a regional bank she found that hiring blind was not a sound business option. She needed solid, objective, job-related background information on the bank’s candidates. RefCheck® helps employers to perform their due diligence in the selection process in order to protect their employees, and to protect their organizations from the risks inherent in the selection process: employee theft, workplace violence, and negligent-hiring and negligent-retention allegations. Adherence to federal and state laws is of paramount importance to the company.

 

Please call Zuni at (800-510-4010, x 12) or email (zcorkerton@refcheck.com) to schedule a free, confidential analysis of your current screening practices, and to determine how RefCheck® can help you to mitigate risk, protect your bottom line, create a safer work environment, and improve hiring.

 

Notice: Nothing in the material provided is intended to be or should be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are strongly advised to seek legal counsel. The author is not an attorney, and the information provided is for informational purposes only. Neither the author nor RefCheck® is engaged in rendering legal advice.

 

© Copyright 2018 RefCheck® Information Services, Inc.

– See more at: https://refcheck.com/category/blog/

 

Case Study – Superintendent’s Past Sexual Harassment Complaints Missed

June 8th, 2018   •   Blog   •   Comments Off on Case Study – Superintendent’s Past Sexual Harassment Complaints Missed   

Many employers want to avoid sexual harassment complaints in hiring. Here is a case study that illustrates what can happen without proper background and reference checks:

  • Fact:   Des Plaines Elementary School Dist. 62 school board retained the services of an educational executive search firm to identify candidates to fill the district’s superintendent position.
  • Fact:   As a result of the search, in early 2016 the board hired Floyd E. Williams to serve as superintendent.
  • Fact:   A background check, consisting of a criminal record search, a civil record history, and a credit report, was conducted by a third party, after the Board had decided to hire Mr. Williams. This background check was considered “a more comprehensive search.”
  • Fact:   The firm that conducted the background check was hired by the executive search firm.
  • Fact:   Five employees of Dist. 62 reported concerns to their supervisors about the superintendent’s comments regarding their appearance and personal lives.
  • Fact:   Shortly after Mr. Williams was hired by Dist. 62 details regarding allegations lodged against him by a female employee of his former employer, Kenosha [Wisconsin] Unified School District, became public. The complaint was over pictures she alleged Mr. Williams had taken of her at an office party.
  • Fact:   The Dist. 62 Board representative has stated that board members were not informed of the circumstances surrounding Mr. Williams’ tenure or his departure from his prior school district.
  • Fact:   Dist. 62 entered into a separation agreement with Mr. Williams in the fall of 2017. He was paid $127,000 as part of the agreement.

*Facts are as reported by various news outlets.

 

Case Study

This case presents employers, whether school districts, government entities, or private enterprises, much fodder for how to effectively conduct background checks, and in particular, executive-level background checks.

For various reasons—some of which are clear as a result of this case—employers need to be intimately involved in the background checks that are conducted on their candidates. Not only entities that deal with vulnerable populations have a responsibility to conduct thorough background checks. As the #MeToo movement has brought to light, sexual harassment exists in all industries, and at all levels of organizations.

Employers need to understand that the Fair Credit Reporting Act is invoked once a third party is involved in conducting background checks, and hence they must follow the requirements of the FCRA. Handing this responsibility off to the search firm creates unnecessary risk and exposure for the employer, and possibly unfair treatment of the candidate(s) whose backgrounds are checked.

Employers need to understand exactly what background checks are being conducted—what counties (usually not just one county) is being searched for criminal records? Will sex offender registries be searched? What results will the civil check net? Is a credit check necessary/a useful tool?

Employers need to understand what constitutes a “comprehensive” background check, in order to determine the adequacy of the check. Will academic credentials be checked? Driving records? Employment history? Will references be contacted? If so, who will be contacted?

Employers often express surprise, as the Dist. 62 Board apparently did, when the results of the “comprehensive” background check does not uncover information regarding a candidate’s prior performance and other critical matters from former employers. They do not realize that criminal, civil, and credit reports do not include such information, except in the rare instance where formal, legal action was taken against the individual.

The only way to obtain information about a candidate’s employment track record is by contacting meaningful references. The interviews with these individuals must be conducted by professionals who are skilled at interviewing senior-level individuals in order to obtain job-related information.

Additional information and resources:

http://www.dailyherald.com/news/20180428/suburban-firm-has-history-of-mishandled-searches-for-school-superintendents

https://www.journal-topics.com/articles/background-check-failed-to-disclose-troubling-information-on-former-supt/


To become a RefCheck® client, register today.

Get up-to-the minute industry developments with our complimentary monthly newsletter. Subscribe now!

About the Author

Zuni Corkerton is the Founder and President of RefCheck® Information Services, Inc., a human resources-based firm that focuses on providing stellar employers with in-depth–not generic–background-screening services. She founded the company in 1986, when as director of employee relations for a regional bank she found that hiring blind was not a sound business option. She needed solid, objective, job-related background information on the bank’s candidates. RefCheck® helps employers to perform their due diligence in the selection process in order to protect their employees, and to protect their organizations from the risks inherent in the selection process: employee theft, workplace violence, and negligent-hiring and negligent-retention allegations. Adherence to federal and state laws is of paramount importance to the company.

Please call (800-510-4010, x 12) or email Zuni (zcorkerton@refcheck.com) to schedule a free, confidential analysis of your current screening practices, and to determine how RefCheck® can help you to mitigate risk, protect your bottom line, and improve hiring.

Notice: Nothing in the material provided is intended to be or should be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are strongly advised to seek legal counsel. The author is not an attorney, and the information provided is for informational purposes only. Neither the author nor RefCheck® is engaged in rendering legal advice.

April is Workplace Violence Awareness Month: Employment Background Checks Are More Important Than Ever

April 9th, 2018   •   Blog   •   Comments Off on April is Workplace Violence Awareness Month: Employment Background Checks Are More Important Than Ever   
April is Workplace Violence Awareness Month: Employment Background Checks Are More Important Than Ever

“This unfortunate event was fully preventable. The information about this individual was readily available. Had you performed your due diligence as an employer, we would not be here today.”

With workplace violence becoming an all-too-frequent event in our country, RefCheck recognizes The Alliance Against Workplace Violence (AAWPV) and its efforts to raise awareness to the preventable nature of these events and encourage full employment background checks.

The steps an employer takes prior to bringing a possible threat to the workplace, is to conduct sound pre-employment background checks on every candidate, whether entry-level, or senior level.

Defining “sound pre-employment background checks”

Gone are the safe and simple days when employers didn’t have to worry much about workplace violence. Today, with the increase in workplace violence, coupled with the abundance of information that is available to employers, it is no longer an option for employers to not perform their full due diligence before bringing risk to its employees as well as their customers.

A cursory online search, even an online criminal-record search, will not meet the standards of sound pre-employment background checks. Sound pre-employment background checks are those that are tailored to each candidate, based on where they have lived and worked, as well as their employment history, and where thorough reference checks, with key references, are conducted by professional-level individuals who are equipped to tailor the conversation with a reference, not only based on the candidate’s employment history, but also on the responses from the reference. The #MeToo movement further accentuates the need for employers to be particularly vigilant in terms of whom they bring into their organization, because sexual harassment, a form of workplace violence, can occur at every level.

For more than 30 years RefCheck® has worked with employers to educate them and support their efforts in providing a safe place for its employees and customers by performing their due diligence in the selection process.

While the need for thorough background checks has always existed, the rise in violent incidents now catapults it to an URGENT matter. Thoroughly vetting each candidate–at every level of the organization–is no longer a nice-to-do; it’s THE RIGHT AND ETHICAL THING TO DO.

Call us today at 800-510-4010, x 12, to schedule a free, full review of your current background-screening processes and recommendations toward improvement.


To become a RefCheck® client, register today.

Get up-to-the minute industry developments with our complimentary monthly newsletter. Subscribe now!

About the Author

Zuni Corkerton is the Founder and President of RefCheck® Information Services, Inc., a human resources-based firm that focuses on providing stellar employers with in-depth–not generic–background-screening services. She founded the company in 1986, when as director of employee relations for a regional bank she found that hiring blind was not a sound business option. She needed solid, objective, job-related background information on the bank’s candidates. RefCheck® helps employers to perform their due diligence in the selection process in order to protect their employees, and to protect their organizations from the risks inherent in the selection process: employee theft, workplace violence, and negligent-hiring and negligent-retention allegations. Adherence to federal and state laws is of paramount importance to the company.

Please call (800-510-4010, x 12) or email Zuni (zcorkerton@refcheck.com) to schedule a free, confidential analysis of your current screening practices, and to determine how RefCheck® can help you to mitigate risk, protect your bottom line, and improve hiring.

Notice: Nothing in the material provided is intended to be or should be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are strongly advised to seek legal counsel. The author is not an attorney, and the information provided is for informational purposes only. Neither the author nor RefCheck® is engaged in rendering legal advice.

 

Tight Labor Market = Reduced Employee Background Checks?

February 20th, 2018   •   Blog   •   Comments Off on Tight Labor Market = Reduced Employee Background Checks?   
Tight Labor Market = Reduced Employee Background Checks?

Tight Labor Market = Reduced Background Checks?

Has the old adage, Hire Slow/Fire Fast, changed in light of the current tight labor market? Are you considering bypassing some of your effective policies geared at making solid hiring decisions in favor of hiring quickly?

In a tight labor market employers feel the pain: The work is coming in, but the talent is hard to find. Their productivity is impacted, as is customer service. Their very brand is at risk. And in high-turnover industries, such as retail, hospitality, healthcare, manufacturing, or those with low barriers to entry where the pay is low, at times the employer may feel that a body—any body—at the register, or on the line, is better than no body.

Speed or Due Diligence?

Speed, whether in the interviewing process or the screening process, poses real threats to an organization, its employees, and its bottom line. Speed must never trump quality, and consistency, and doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Speed over due diligence is never the solution.

Consider the risks of hiring fast and bypassing employee background checks:

  • Individuals with spotty employment histories, poor work habits, or inability to get along with others affects the company’s culture. And what happens when your culture is compromised? It’s the ripple effect of poor hiring: Frustrated managers and supervisors, turnover, poor morale, overworked and frustrated employees who must deal with the poor work quality, poor customer service. In short, it’s your brand that is impacted.
  • Legal fees escalate. Terminations are never easy. Legal advice is often needed. Litigation may be involved.
  • The bottom line is adversely affected. The cost of replacing a bad hire is several times the individual’s annual salary. Hardly a good investment in terms of dollars, or in terms of impact to the brand.
  • Equally as alarming is the risk that, when employers require faster results from their screening company, some companies, in their desire to keep the customer, will play the odds: They will provide unfounded information, such as a criminal record being clear, or academic record being correct, knowing that in the majority of cases that would be the final outcome. If in fact they did the research at all, then find the initial/false report they provided was incorrect, they will issue a “corrected” copy of the report. Of course, that means their client has now hired an individual they may not have hired otherwise, and it means possible termination, along with the legal fees and the other pitfalls of terminations. In the end, it is also the individual who was hired who will also suffer, as they have left a prior job and must now look for another one.

Résumé Fraud

Guess who’s very aware of the fact that the job market is tight? It’s not just employers who are feeling the pinch…candidates feel it and know it too. They know the competition is fierce, and some may find the need to stand out, or differentiate themselves. It is during low unemployment periods that résumé fraud increases dramatically. In our experience, we see a rise in false academic credentials, and gaps in employment that are disguised with altered dates of employment.

Most employers say they would like the background-screening process to be expedited, but as with the earlier stages of recruiting—placing correct ads, screening candidates and interviewing them—time must be allowed for what is likely to be the most important part of the recruiting process—background checks. How else will they support their position to provide a safe workplace for their employees and customers? Why would they allow a toxic individual to alienate fragile customer relationships or morale? It is only through the timely process of checking references and conducting thorough employee background checks that these positions will be protected.

Whether reference and background checks are conducted should not ebb and flow as the economy changes. Consistency in the selection process is important, for employee and customer safety, for preservation of your company culture, your brand, and your bottom line. Are you willing to base your response to a negligent-hiring lawsuit on the economy?


To become a RefCheck® client go to https://refcheck.com/register/.

Get up-to-the minute industry developments with our complimentary monthly newsletter. Subscribe now!

About the Author

Zuni Corkerton is the Founder and President of RefCheck® Information Services, Inc., a human resources-based firm that focuses on providing stellar employers with in-depth–not generic–background-screening services. She founded the company in 1986, when as director of employee relations for a regional bank she found that hiring blind was not a sound business option. She needed solid, objective, job-related background information on the bank’s candidates. RefCheck® helps employers to perform their due diligence in the selection process in order to protect their employees, and to protect their organizations from the risks inherent in the selection process: employee theft, workplace violence, and negligent-hiring and negligent-retention allegations. Adherence to federal and state laws is of paramount importance to the company.

Please call (800-510-4010, x 12) or email Zuni (zcorkerton@refcheck.com) to schedule a free, confidential analysis of your current screening practices, and to determine how RefCheck® can help you to mitigate risk, protect your bottom line, and improve hiring.

Notice: Nothing in the material provided is intended to be or should be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are strongly advised to seek legal counsel. The author is not an attorney, and the information provided is for informational purposes only. Neither the author nor RefCheck® is engaged in rendering legal advice.

© Copyright 2018 RefCheck® Information Services, Inc.

– See more at: https://refcheck.com/category/blog/

 

 

 

Thank you, clients and partners!

May 15th, 2017   •   Blog   •   Comments Off on Thank you, clients and partners!   

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How to Hire Honest Employees

March 20th, 2017   •   Blog   •   Comments Off on How to Hire Honest Employees   

Raise Your Hand If You Want to Hire Honest Employees

Sounds like a trick question, doesn’t it? How many employers would say they want to hire dishonest employees? Not many. However, when an opening exists and the pain of the vacancy becomes greater with each passing day, employers’ resolve to seek to hire only honest candidates may wane. The question then becomes, “How much dishonesty are you willing to accept?”

Case Study

A RefCheck® client is a highly visible, highly regarded employer. They conduct thorough background checks on every candidate, whether an entry-level receptionist, a sales professional, or higher. They do so for four key reasons:

1.    To reduce the risk of employee theft;

2.    To maintain a safe workplace;

3.    To strengthen their position in the event of violence in the workplace; and

4.    Ultimately, to protect their stellar standing in the community.

A recent candidate’s criminal records were clear (they were checked in various counties, under various names used by the individual, and against databases that cast a broader net); the reported academic records were confirmed; and the drug test results were negative. Such results would normally be sufficient for some employers. Thankfully, not for this employer.

As we consistently educate our clients, reference checks are a vital component to the screening process, and in this case it was the reference checks that netted results worthy of further consideration by our client. Each of the references spoke highly of the individual’s work, his interpersonal skills, his work ethic, etc. But in the course of the focused interviews, not one, but two employers not listed by the candidate on his résumé or his application were discovered.


Further Thoughts on How to Hire Honest Employees

If you have a strong statement on your employment application asking each candidate to certify that the information they have provided is true and complete, followed by the statement that any misrepresentation found can be grounds for elimination from further consideration, or termination if discovered after hire, what would you/your company do, when you have a candidate who did not provided a completely factual employment history? What is your company’s appetite for overlooking certain facts found in the course of the background investigation? In other words,

HOW HONEST IS HONEST IN YOUR ORGANIZATION?

The answer to this question is one that deserves serious consideration by every leader in your organization, because the answer, once put into practice, is the yardstick that will be used to make hiring decisions, and will be the foundation of your company’s culture and ultimately your profitability. “It would depend on the position,” some companies may conclude, not recognizing that even a receptionist who has no access to cash has other opportunities for theft, in the form of theft of inventory or supplies, or misuse of company equipment.

Before completing a review of company hiring practices and background-screening processes, it is imperative that the most basic of questions be answered by company leadership:

  • HOW HONEST IS HONEST?
  • WHAT LAPSES IN HONESTY ARE WE WILLING TO OVERLOOK IN CANDIDATES? 
  • HOW WILLING ARE WE TO HAVE FURTHER CONVERSATION WITH A CANDIDATE REGARDING FINDINGS IN THE BACKGROUND-SCREENING PROCESS?

Please call me at (800-510-4010, x 12) or email me (zcorkerton@refcheck.com) to schedule a free, confidential analysis of your current screening practices, and to determine how RefCheck® can help you to mitigate risk, protect your bottom line, and improve hiring.

About the Author

Zuni Corkerton is the Founder and President of RefCheck® Information Services, Inc., a human resources-based firm that focuses on providing stellar employers with in-depth–not generic–background-screening services. She founded the company in 1986, when as director of employee relations for a regional bank she found that hiring blind was not a sound business option. She needed solid, objective, job-related background information on the bank’s candidates. RefCheck® helps employers to perform their due diligence in the selection process in order to protect their employees, and to protect their organizations from the risks inherent in the selection process: employee theft, workplace violence, and negligent-hiring and negligent-retention allegations. Adherence to federal and state laws is of paramount importance to the company.


Get up-to-the minute industry developments with our complimentary monthly newsletter. Subscribe now!

Notice: Nothing in the material provided is intended to be or should be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are strongly advised to seek legal counsel. The author is not an attorney, and the information provided is for informational purposes only. Neither the author nor RefCheck® is engaged in rendering legal advice.