How to Hire Honest Employees

March 20th, 2017   •   Blog   •   no comments   

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.

2017 Employment Screening Trends

January 30th, 2017   •   Blog   •   no comments   

Ban the Box Continues to Gain Momentum

In our 2015 leadership to-do list we talked about ban the box, and the need for senior leaders to understand its impact and the restrictions. Two years later, ban the box is still a growing movement (see HERE). And while the Trump administration may enact changes in this arena, employers must remain vigilant of and in compliance with the current rules.

Growth in “Gig”/Contingent Workforce Means New Parameters for Employers

Low unemployment rates, fast growth, as well as workers who prefer to work as freelancers, means that employers must review their screening practices to incorporate a workforce that focuses on “gigs,” temporary work, or specific assignments.  In the past employers might not have considered screening this segment of their workforce, believing that contingent workers do not meet the definition of “employee,” but over the last few years this thinking has changed, as employers recognize that these individuals are in fact their representatives in the marketplace, and often have access to sensitive information as well as to the company’s employees and customers. To mitigate the risk of allegations of disparate treatment, employers will need to develop screening practices that treat all individuals in similar positions the same.

Ongoing Screening Will Increase

Much as employers in the past have conducted ongoing, random substance-abuse testing, more employers are recognizing the need to adopt similar practices with other background screenings, in order to maintain a safe and secure workplace, both in terms of security as well as workplace safety. For employers considering this approach, it is imperative that the disclosure and authorization that the candidate initially signed clearly states that their consent serves for future checks as well.

Social Media Screenings Continue to be a Risky Process

With easy access to social media, many employers–and particularly hiring managers–often do their own research on viable candidates via this source. Often the information found leads to a negative impact on the candidate, but the data found through these sources is not considered reliable, as these sources provide protected-class information that could challenge an employer’s non-discriminatory policies and practices.

 

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, violence in the workplace, and negligent-hiring and negligent-retention allegations. Adherence to federal and state laws is of paramount importance to the company.

Please call or email Zuni 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.

 

RefCheck®: Not just a vendor; we’re your partner.

 

Notice:  Nothing is 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 2017 RefCheck® Information Services, Inc.

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

 

How to Choose Effective Employment References

July 27th, 2016   •   Blog   •   no comments   

Choosing effective employment references who can speak to your candidate’s performance, skills set, and their critical soft skills will help you in making the best, most informed hiring decisions.

 

Here are a few tips that will help you in garnering the job-related information you need:

 

 1. Carefully review the candidate’s application and résumé.

If your employment application asks if a particular employer may be contacted, check to see if the candidate has asked that that employer not be contacted. During the interview, ask why they are not to be contacted. If it is because it’s their current place of employment, it is understandable that their manager should not be contacted. Ask for the contact information of a trusted colleague in whom they have confided about their job search. For former employers, make sure the candidate has provided their manager’s name and current contact information.

 

2. If the candidate provides a list of references:

Find out how the references related to the candidate, so you can determine if they are quality references. A best practice is to obtain the name(s) of final managers at each company where the candidate has worked, as they will be able to serve as the best reference, with the most recent/final information.

 

3. Ask the candidate for contact information.

Employers need the background information on their candidates quickly. Therefore, to reduce the time in reaching the references, it is imperative that the candidate provide their current contact information. Needing to contact the candidate when accurate information is not provided unnecessarily extends the time of completion of the background check. With today’s social-media capabilities, it is nearly impossible for a candidate to claim that they no longer know their former managers’ whereabouts or their contact information.

 

Conclusion

Failure to provide the information the employer requests may indicate that the candidate has reason why they don’t want a reference or references to be reached, and the employer may need to ask further questions of the candidate. Additionally, such practices, which indicate that the employer is a responsible employer that conducts stringent background-checks, may serve to discourage certain individuals from applying. That chilling effect indicates the efficacy of their practices, as it allows individuals with less-than-desirable work habits to apply at your competition.

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 2, 2015Zuni 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 2016 RefCheck® Information Services, Inc.

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

Workplace Violence – Learning from Experience, Part II

September 28th, 2015   •   Blog   •   no comments   

Summary, Part I:

A recent shooting by a disgruntled former employee leaves two young people dead. A chef is stabbed in the back by a co-worker while working in a restaurant kitchen.  The logical first or second question to be asked of an employer in the aftermath of workplace violence: What background checks were conducted on the perpetrator?

 

Responsible but Not Negligent: Steps Employers Can Take to Reduce the Risks of Allegations of Negligent Hiring and Retention.

Once a company determines that it wants to be more diligent in its selection practices, with an emphasis not only on hiring the best-suited for the position, but also with an exacting eye toward providing a safe workplace, the reaction of most employers is to ask a staff member to call a few screening companies and ask, “How much do you charge for a background check?” (Can you see the spreadsheet in front of the individual making the calls?) A word of advice: DON’T START THERE.

 

Mitigating the Risks of Workplace Violence: How to start the process of conducting background checks or improving what you are currently doing:

1.  At the most senior levels of the organization, determine what your goals are in terms of providing a safe workplace. In these conversations consider areas such as:

•  The inherent risks in your own industry as well as in your organization;

•  Your/your organization’s tolerance for risk;

•  Your level of commitment to providing a safe workplace for your employees and customers.

 

2.  Set a {Preliminary} Budget That Shows Your Commitment Level

Take a good, long look internally–the risks you’ve had to date, the gaps you see in your current hiring processes. And, take a good, long look at media reports of cases of violence in the workplace. This review will help you design the road map to move forward. A few suggested steps:

  1. Get a feel for the real [and often hidden or overlooked] costs of the previous year’s hiring mistakes. Consider areas such as costs of re-hiring; management time in coaching and exiting an unsuccessful employee, interviewing, etc.; the impact on morale and on customer service. These all impact your bottom line, and will help you realize the savings that could result from better hiring, which will offset the costs of improved background checks.
  2. Review the cost of some of the programs you instituted the previous year: A new menu? A new branding effort? New marketing materials? New promotional items? Capital improvements?

The cost of the above items will help you keep a perspective in developing a budget for background checks. Relative to those costs, what is the worth of background checks to you? How does the budget to conduct background checks compare to the budget to print new menus? or promotional items? This is an important process, because in the event of  any litigation around violence in the workplace, the dollars allocated to providing a save workplace can easily be compared to other expenditures.

3.  Research Background-Screening Companies to Determine a Best Provider to Support Your Safe-Workplace Goals

First, a DON’T: Do not assign this important step to someone not in a leadership position.  The calls to potential providers need to be made by someone who has a full understanding of your company’s commitment to providing a safe workplace and the risks to the company, and who can engage in meaningful conversation, not data-gathering. When an employer calls a company and asks “how much do you charge for a background check?” the answer you’ll get is not what you need. IF the company responds to such a question, they’ll give you their lowest price, since such a question implies that you’re shopping for price, not quality. (Consider your company’s own response to a similar question. Do such questions allow you to showcase your capabilities? Your ability and willingness to partner with your clients or customers? How do you respond to general, price-based questions?)

A note about terminology: The term “background check” is as confusing for employers as it is for the good background-screening companies that understand that there is no such thing as “A background check.” Used as a global term, “a background check” can mean many things: a single database search; a criminal record search via a database, or at a county level; or it can mean a driving record check, or a verification of employment….or (ideally) a combination of the many products available to employers.

And a note about “packages”: As a rule, generic “packages” are not the best alternative for employers who want to perform due diligence, as each “background check” should be tailored to each candidate’s history: how many jobs has s/he held in the last seven years? where have they lived, worked, attended school, etc.? does the job for which they are being considered require driving, or access to cash or other assets?

In conversation with potential background-screening vendors, your leadership will need to learn about each product available to you and the resulting information, in order to determine which tools are best for your organization. Additionally, you will need to assess the vendor’s order-management system to make sure it allows the flexibility you need to tailor each background check. Their willingness to train, assist, and support you and your team members must be apparent to you.

A vendor’s assistance to you in terms of compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and state legislation should be of great importance to you as well, and their order-management system should streamline the process for you.

4.  Develop a Background-Screening Policy

Along the way, as you explore your commitment, your budget, the vendor that will be the best match for your organization and your needs, you will also need to develop a background-screening policy which will serve as the road map for the individuals who will carry out the day-to-day duties. At a minimum, this policy will delineate processes, compliance with federal and state laws, and how hire/no hire decisions are made. Because of the intricacies of such policies, we strongly urge our clients to have their employment law attorneys heavily involved in the policy-development process.

 

And back to the original question posed:

What background checks were conducted on the perpetrator?

In answering the question above, a company’s actions will speak far louder than their words:

  • How much was the company willing to spend on background checks? (In other words, now, looking back, was the safety of one individual worth $100? $500? or $30?)
  • Of the myriad (and cost-effective) screening tools available to employers, which do they use?
  • Do they tailor the background checks to the individual’s history so things such as a name change are likely to be found? And, are they willing to pay for additional research on a background check when necessary?
  • Do they understand that reference checks are a critical component in the due-diligence process, and therefore conduct these on every candidate?
  • What internal resources do they allocate to the screening process?
  • How closely is the information obtained on individuals reviewed by company management?

And ultimately, who conducts the background checks on individuals?  If the company allows their third-party placement firms to conduct background checks on the candidates they present, is that process closely monitored so it mirrors those of the company’s policy and its own background-screening vendor? Or alternatively, does the employer submit all candidates to its own rigorous screening process through its own vendor to ensure consistency?

 

#####

 

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 CorkertonZuni 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.

Workplace Violence – Learning from Experience, Part I

September 9th, 2015   •   Blog   •   no comments   

Litigation: The Other Side of Workplace Violence

Again, a couple of weeks ago we read and watched the sad developing story of a young reporter and cameraman from WDBJ TV station killed by a former co-worker. Several days later, a chef is stabbed in the back and killed by a co-worker. Yes, such events, even in industries deemed to be safe industries, do in fact occur.

An oft-overlooked fact about workplace violence is that when it occurs, litigation quickly follows, so employers would be wise to anticipate how the discovery process will play out.

And the FIRST QUESTION is….

WHAT EXACTLY DID YOU DO IN TERMS OF

BACKGROUND CHECKS ON THE PERPETRATOR?

How will YOU answer?

 ⇒ We don’t do background checks because you can’t get any information anyway.

OR

⇒ We can’t afford to do background checks.

OR

⇒  We have a set package arrangement with our vendor. It’s the same for every candidate, regardless of where they’ve lived, worked, etc.

OR

(the best answer) You provide a response from a position of strength, able to show that you are a responsible, not negligent employer that conducts thorough background checks:

  • Your criminal background checks are tailored to the individual under consideration for employment–e.g., their employment history, their address history–as opposed to a one-size-fits-all package arrangement that could leave out critical locations to check.

  • You select the tools that cast the broadest net.

  • AND, understanding that background checks don’t tell the whole story, you conduct meaningful–not cursory–reference checks, tailored to the position.

THESE ARE SOME OF THE STEPS RESPONSIBLE EMPLOYERS TAKE IN ORDER TO MITIGATE THE RISKS OF VIOLENCE IN THEIR WORKPLACE AND THE ENSUING LITIGATION.

Employers understand that if or when one of their employees hurts another employee(s) or customer, they will likely be responsible for the injuries (or worse), but there are ways to protect the company from also being found negligent in their hiring and retention practices.

 

Our heartfelt condolences to the families, friends, colleagues, and others affected by violent crimes in the workplace.

 •

To become a RefCheck® client go to https://refcheck.com/register/ or call 800.510.4010, x 12.

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

About the Author

Zuni Corkerton 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, violence in the workplace, and negligent-hiring and negligent-retention allegations. Adherence to federal and state laws is of paramount importance to the company.

Please call or email Zuni 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 is 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.

RefCheck Celebrates 29 Years in Business

April 29th, 2015   •   Blog   •   no comments   

RefCheck® BEATS THE ODDS AND CELEBRATES

29 YEARS IN BUSINESS

 

PRESS RELEASE

April 29, 2015, Hilliard, OH – RefCheck® Information Services, Inc., the gold-standard provider of employment reference and background checks, announces its 29th anniversary on the 29th of this month.

This woman- and minority-owned business is well pleased with this milestone, having beaten the survival rates of small businesses. Zuni Corkerton, the firm’s founder and president, attributes this achievement to its loyal clients and to the business climate in the Columbus, Ohio area.

Employers have always had a need for meaningful background information on their applicants, and in 1986 that need was met by the founding of RefCheck®. As an officer at a regional bank, Corkerton recognized the need for sound, job-related information that employers could use to mitigate the inherent risks in the selection process. While reference checks with former employers and other key references was the primary service initially offered, the need for additional information, such as criminal and driving record searches and confirmation of academic, licensures, and other credentials were quickly added to the company’s service offerings. In the ensuing years drug testing, electronic fingerprinting, and other related products have been added to support the needs of employers.

An area of significant focus today is on executive background checks. Given the rash of stories about executives who falsify their credentials or otherwise “enhance” their résumés, RefCheck®’s Executive Profiles provide employers and Boards of Directors with the proper due diligence in selections at those levels.

“One thing that has not changed since we opened the doors at RefCheck® is our commitment to working closely with our clients so they understand the risks in hiring—from poor performance to outright theft or violence in the workplace,” Zuni said. She adds, “The costs of those risks are significant. Beyond the dollars and cents, the impact of violence in the workplace—and the lack of effort to mitigate the risks—have a significant and devastating effect not only on the victims, but also on their co-workers, as well as on the decision makers who in hindsight realize the loss may have been avoided, if proper reference and background checks had been part of the selection process.”

Zuni describes her firm’s approach to the work they do with their clients as a tailored, consultative one. She notes, “Some employers simply haven’t thought about their responsibility to perform their due diligence in order to protect assets as well as human life, nor do they know the tools that are available to them. We focus on educating the stellar employers who want to do the right thing by conducting sound background checks.” She states that today, given the information that is readily available, employers are hard pressed to justify not performing their due diligence in the hiring process in order to avoid violence in the workplace or other actions that may lead to losses.

Reflecting on the firm’s anniversary Corkerton states, “There are many factors that have contributed to our success, but none more than our clients’ commitment to doing the right thing. I’m very proud of the fact that those employers turn to RefCheck® for the support they need. We fully recognize, of course, that without them we would not be here today. I also applaud our clients, whether they’re a Fortune-200 company or a small business, for supporting a small, woman- and minority-owned business. That speaks volumes about our community and its commitment to keeping our overall business spend local.”

Today, the business climate is much more open to women- and minority-owned businesses, but Corkerton recalled, “Our business was founded so long ago, that when I tried to obtain a credit card from a local bank I was told my husband’s signature would be required!” She continued, “In 1986, who would’ve predicted that a business owned by a woman–also a minority–would last 29 years—and more? Professionally, it’s been a great, challenging, and rewarding ride.”

Zuni is proud to be a founding member of the industry’s national organization, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners.

 ###

About the Author

Zuni Corkerton, celebrating 29 years

 

 

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, violence in the workplace, and negligent-hiring and negligent-retention allegations. Adherence to federal and state laws is of paramount importance to the company.

Please call or email Zuni 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 is 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.

Responsible But Not Negligent

March 26th, 2015   •   Blog   •   no comments   

As an employer, you have the opportunity to potentially save lives, as well as significant company resources.

Workplace Violence Case Study

In 2010 two factory workers were killed by a co-worker. The individual committing the crimes had been suspended on the day that she re-entered the premises, shot two co-workers and injured another.

 

Referring to the company’s policies and protocols, the attorney representing the families of the individuals killed used these documents to argue that the security personnel had not been properly trained nor had they followed company protocol in preventing the suspended employee from re-entering the workplace. The families of the deceased were ultimately awarded over $8 million dollars by a Philadelphia jury.

Being Proactive Means A Stronger Position

Rare though such cases of violence in the workplace may be, they point to the fact that employers must recognize their occurrence and act accordingly. They are encouraged to have relevant policies and procedures aimed at controlling the risks of violence in the workplace, and further, to ensure that their staff—and as in this case the contingent or outsourced staff—is properly trained in its policies and procedures.

Responsible but Not Negligent

In workplace-violence cases employers will most likely be found responsible for the actions of their employees, including the perpetrator, but they can be proactive in an effort to avoid also being found to have been negligent in their hiring and retention practices. An initial question likely to be asked is whether there was information about the perpetrator that the employer could have had or should have had, had they been diligent in their practices in order to provide a safe workplace.

Recommendations

One important step employers should take to reduce the risk of negligent-hiring and -retention allegations is to establish sound hiring protocols, including detailed policies regarding the background checks that will be conducted on each candidate, regardless of the position for which they are being considered. They must recognize that violence in the workplace can be initiated by a disgruntled entry-level employee as well as a senior executive. Employers who understand and conduct proper background checks will have a much stronger stance in proving that they were not negligent in their selection or retention practices.

Another important step, because of the inherent risks in the selection and retention process, is for senior leadership to be intimately involved in the policies developed around the company’s background-checks–searches to conduct, if follow-up/annual checks are to be done, etc. That means they first must understand the screening tools available to them and the results each provides, in order to develop sound policies. Then, they must ensure that the policies are followed–consistently.

 

To become a RefCheck® client go to https://refcheck.com/register/, or call 1-800-510-4010, x 12.

 

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

Subscribe now!

 

About the Author

Zuni Corkerton 300 dpi picZuni 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, violence in the workplace, and negligent-hiring and negligent-retention allegations. Adherence to federal and state laws is of paramount importance to the company.

Please call or email Zuni 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.

 

RefCheck®: Not just a vendor; we’re your partner.

 

Notice:  Nothing is 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

Fair Credit Reporting Act Requirements

February 25th, 2015   •   Blog   •   no comments   

 

What Employers Don’t Know About the FCRA Can Have a Serious Impact on Their Bottom Line

 

Facts about the Fair Credit Reporting Act and employment background checks that business owners, CEOs, and HR leaders need to know.

 

DID YOU KNOW . . .

YES

NO

  • that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) applies to ANY employer who conducts background checks through a third party, even if they don’t obtain credit checks?

  • that third parties that conduct background checks for employment purposes must also adhere to the requirements of the FCRA? (This includes individuals such as former employees who work from home and conduct reference checks for the employer.)

  • that the FCRA requires employers to provide a standalone disclosure document to each candidate whose background may be checked?

  • that the FCRA requires employers to have a candidate’s authorization to conduct background checks?

  • that the FCRA has a two-step notification process when employment is denied based in whole or in part on information obtained through a third-party background check?

  • that the number of class-action suits relating to employer violations of the FCRA is rapidly increasing because plaintiffs’ attorneys are recognizing the opportunities that exist? (Companies such as Whole Foods, Nine West, Home Depot, Publix, USB Financial Services and others have all faced such suits in the recent past.)

 

 

About the Author

Zuni Corkerton 300 dpi pic 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, violence in the workplace, and negligent-hiring and negligent-retention allegations. Adherence to federal and state laws is of paramount importance to the company.

Please call or email Zuni 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.

 

RefCheck®: Not just a vendor; we’re your partner.

Notice:  Nothing is 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.

Yet Another FCRA Class Action Suit

January 26th, 2015   •   Blog   •   no comments   

 

 

The chart below shows a representative sample of employers that in the recent past have faced actions related to the FCRA. Since the development of this chart some, such as the Whole Foods case, have been dismissed.

 

 

  • Reputational Loss

  • Impact to the Bottom Line ~

    • Dollar General has agreed to pay $4 million dollars to settle a case alleging violations of the FCRA related to, among other areas, requirements of timely disclosure to candidates about the possibility of obtaining a background check, failure to obtain candidates’ authorizations to conduct such checks, and failure to provide required pre-adverse action notification. Dollar General denies any wrongdoing and any liability. Further hearings remain.

    • In November 2014 Publix agreed to a $6.8 million settlement for including a brief release of liability statement on its disclosure to candidates. The FCRA requires that the disclosure statement “consist solely of the disclosure,” although consent from the candidate may also be included in the document. Publix denied wrongdoing, and stated that the settlement was reached “because of the substantial expense of litigation…and the disruption to its business operations.”

 

          • Select partners, not vendors, who can guide and support internal compliance efforts.

 

Zuni Corkerton 300 dpi pic

Zuni Corkerton, RefCheck Information Services, Inc.

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, violence in the workplace, and negligent-hiring and negligent-retention allegations. Adherence to federal and state laws is of paramount importance to the company.

Please call or email Zuni 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.

RefCheck® is not just a vendor; we’re your partner.

Notice: Nothing is 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.

Six Critical Things for Senior Leadership to Do in 2015 to Protect Your Company

January 5th, 2015   •   Blog   •   no comments   

Happy new year! We wish our readers the best in 2015.

 

An Employer’s To-Do List for 2015

It is much easier (and far less costly) to protect your company from class-action suits than it is to defend your actions. In that light, we offer six to-do items for senior leadership.

 

 

  • Review your FCRA disclosure and authorization to conduct background checks.

    If a third party conducts any of your background checks, you need to disclose your intent to do so to each candidate, and you need to obtain the candidate’s authorization to do so. Is your organization disclosing your intent to conduct background checks to candidates? Do you have a stand-alone document, as required by the FCRA, to obtain candidates’ authorizations to conduct background checks? Is the document a “clean” document without extraneous information? Your consumer reporting agency/partner should be able to provide you with such a document. NOTE: In the 4th quarter of 2014 Publix agreed to pay $6.8 million to settle a class-action suit alleging a violation of the FCRA in that the company did not make disclosures about background checks to candidates.

 

  • Review your employment application.

    Does your current application request the information needed to conduct thorough background checks, such as dates of employment (months and years), whether the candidate graduated from schools attended (a Yes/No question, or degree earned), names of final supervisors or managers and their contact information; and a thorough statement requiring their signature that indicates, among other things, the truthfulness of the information they have provided?

 

  • Bring yourself up to date on Ban the Box.

    Ban-the-box legislation (eliminating employers’ ability to inquire about applicants’ criminal history during the initial application process) is spreading at a fast pace. Employers need to determine if their jurisdiction(s) are affected, and should review their employment applications and other processes to remove related questions. This will need to be an ongoing review as the ban-the-box movement continues.

 

  • Review your employment policies and practices pertaining to criminal records.

    In 2012 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidelines that strongly discourage employers from using across-the-board policies that deny employment based on criminal records, and instead suggest that each criminal record be assessed to evaluate the nature of the crime(s) and how it pertains to the position for which the candidate is being considered, and the timing of the conviction.

 

  • Review your real, day-to-day employment practices, and your team’s understanding of the “whys” behind policies and management’s instructions.

    Management institutes policies and procedures based on their experience, knowledge,and legal advice, but in the real world of deadlines, demands by hiring managers, and other business needs, the tightest of procedures are often diluted. What is really happening day to day in your organization? For example, management well understands that a candidate’s resume is their “marketing brochure” and not an adequate replacement for their organization’s (carefully crafted) employment application, and they may have instituted clear guidelines about not accepting applications where the candidate has written “See Resume,” but are such applications in fact being accepted? The best employment application will lose significant value if candidates (regardless of the level of the position for which they are applying) are allowed to not complete the requested information. Or, is every candidate given the proper disclosure about background checks and have they signed an adequate authorization? Are the requisite pre-adverse action and adverse-action letters being provided to candidates in accordance with FCRA requirements?

We’re here to help. Feel free to call us for further guidance.

 

About the Author

Zuni Corkerton 300 dpi pic

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, violence in the workplace, and negligent-hiring and negligent-retention allegations. Adherence to federal and state laws is of paramount importance to the company.

Please call or email Zuni for additional information or 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.

RefCheck® is not a vendor; we’re your partner.

 

Notice:  Nothing is the material provided is intended to be or should be relied upon as legal advice. 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. Readers are strongly encouraged to seek legal advice.