Backgrounds Online Blog

  • San Antonio Bans the Box from City Job Applications

    January 17, 2017
    The City of San Antonio recently joined the Ban the Box movement. Applications for city jobs will not ask if the applicant has a criminal conviction.
    Backgrounds Online | January 17, 2016

    The City of San Antonio recently joined the Ban the Box movement. Applications for city jobs will not ask if the applicant has a criminal conviction.

    About Ban the Box

    Many job applications include a section that asks whether or not the applicant has a criminal record. Applicants are expected to check that box if they have any type of conviction. People who do are unlikely to receive further consideration.

    The Ban the Box movement calls for the removal of this question from job applications. It is intended to help people who are unable to find employment because they have minor or irrelevant records. This concept has been adopted by more than 150 cities in 24 states.

    How the Box Affects Applicants

    Millions of Americans have criminal records. Many are for minor infractions that would not impact the person's ability to land a job. However, when a job application shows a person has a record, employers are likely to reject the applicant without further review. Job seekers may not have a chance at employment when they are asked to check this box.

    Removing the box offers more opportunities to applicants with minor records. Employers will learn about the person and their qualification before learning about the record. Then they will see specific details about the case and conviction, which helps them make informed decisions. This also helps people get work when they might have otherwise been rejected immediately.

    How This Will Impact San Antonio

    Removing the box is likely to result in many more people seeking city jobs. Individuals who previously would not apply may be willing to try now. They'll know that they won't be disqualified before they can get a foot in the door.

    City employers will still have the ability to learn about an applicant's records by ordering a criminal background check. Before they do, they will have reviewed the person's resume, conducted an interview and formed an opinion about their ability to handle the job duties. At this point, the employer will have the facts they need to make fair and educated hiring decisions.

    The Private Sector

    At the moment, the box is only being banned from city job applications. However, there are expectations that this will soon spread to private employers. The person who suggested that the city adopt the Ban the Box concept was Councilman Rey Saldaña. During an interview with a local paper, he explained that this was a first step.

    Saldaña commented that the box creates a "Barrier of entry toward opportunity for a lot of community members who have paid down their debt to society and are simply trying to lift themselves up." While not everyone agrees with this assessment, and some feel it could be a liability to the city, there is an effort to institute Ban the Box laws throughout San Antonio.

    Applicants Are Looking for Opportunities

    A 2012 study of criminal rates in Texas indicated that 11.8 million residents have a criminal record. That's more than 40% of the Lone Star State's population. Proponents of the Ban the Box movement believe that the policy will open doors for many residents who simply need a second chance and stable employment.

    The concept of banning the criminal records box was first established in the late 1990's. It has been gaining momentum in recent years. As more locations adopt the Ban the Box concept, employers must be aware of and comply with this regulation. Backgrounds Online continues to watch for news about the movement and endeavors to educate our visitors on the latest developments. Watch this blog for stories related to the Ban the Box movement and other topics that impact hiring and screening policies.

  • Kentucky Job Seekers Can Have Minor Criminal Records Expunged

    January 10, 2017
    People with criminal records often have a difficult time finding employment. New laws are giving them a second chance, including a recently passed bill in Kentucky.
    Backgrounds Online | January 10, 2016

    People with criminal records often have a difficult time finding employment. New laws are giving them a second chance, including a recently passed bill in Kentucky.

    The Push to Provide Second Chances

    Millions of Americans have criminal records. While some are serious enough to warrant the denial of employment, others are minor and not relevant to prospective employers. However, merely having a record can be a massive detriment to people who are looking for work.

    Initiatives such as Ban the Box and the Fair Chance Pledge have been developed to help people with minor offenses on their record. A new Kentucky law seeks to provide further assistance by empowering people with non-violent offenses to have their records expunged.

    If a criminal record is expunged, then it will not be reportable on an employment background check. That means a prospective employer would not see that an applicant ever had a criminal conviction. It allows the candidate to be judged based on merits such as previous employment, skill level and ability to perform job duties.

    Kentucky House Bill 40

    On December 28, 2015 the state of Kentucky passed House Bill 40. This authorized people with minor, non-violent misdemeanors and felonies to have those records expunged. The state's Chamber of Commerce was a big proponent of this bill and helped generate support.

    The initial goal was to address a workforce shortage in the state. Ashli Watts, Vice President of Public Affairs at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, said: "The reason we pushed for the law is we were hearing from employers that this was needed. In the past couple of years we really started hearing from employers that there was a workforce problem in Kentucky and this was a way to address it."

    Success of the Kentucky Law

    One year after passing House Bill 40, Kentucky officials noted a sizable increase in the number of requests to expunge felony records. They received nearly twice as many requests as they had the year before. A Kentucky county judge named Mike Buchanon feels the new law has been successful. He noted that citizens who take advantage of this opportunity have a much better chance at finding a good job.

    The process begins when someone fills out an Application to Vacate and Expunge Felony Conviction document and files it in the county where they were convicted. Unless a Prosecutor objects, a hearing is scheduled within 60 days. Then the case is heard and a final decision is made. If all goes well, the person will have a misdemeanor or felony officially removed from their record.

    According to Ashli Watts, the Chamber of Commerce hasn't heard any negative feedback and they have received several positive comments from Kentucky businesses.

    What This Means for KY Employers and Job Seekers

    The passing of this bill benefits employers and job applicants. Many businesses in Kentucky have a difficult time filling all of their job openings. There simply aren't enough applicants. House Bill 40 creates a deeper talent pool and gives employers more opportunities to succeed.

    This law is also a great benefit for job seekers. People who might have been automatically overlooked due to a minor record may now have a better chance at finding employment. Expunging a criminal record offers the person a clean slate and the possibility of a fresh start.

    Kentucky employers should be aware of this policy and make sure they only use current and reportable information to help them make hiring decisions.

  • Wegmans Supermarket Chain is Sued for Alleged FCRA Violations

    January 3, 2017
    A regional supermarket chain was accused of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by running background checks without the applicant's consent.
    Backgrounds Online | January 3, 2016

    A regional supermarket chain was accused of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by running background checks without the applicant's consent.

    Basis of the Lawsuit

    There are several steps to every hiring process. One of the most crucial usually occurs towards the end - running FCRA compliant background checks. When this happens, there are specific laws that must be followed. Two Wegmans employees claimed that their employer was not in compliance with an essential FCRA regulation.

    According to the employees, Wegmans ran background checks on them without first obtaining their consent. Most employers run pre-employment reports to help them make critical hiring decisions, but it is necessary to acquire permission from the applicants first.

    FCRA Regulations for Running Background Checks

    The primary goals of the FCRA are to prevent discrimination, protect consumers and promote privacy for consumer information. One FCRA rule stipulates that employers must have written authorization from a job seeker before they can initiate a background check.

    When an applicant provides consent and a background check is run, the FCRA also decrees that the consumer has the right to receive a copy of their report and dispute the results if necessary. This might happen if the person claims that some of the data on their report is incorrect or for a person with the same first and last name. If an employer runs a report without acquiring permission, then it is possible that they will make a hiring decision based on those results regardless of whether or not the report was seen by the subject.

    What the Plaintiffs Seek

    The case against Wegmans is a class action lawsuit that was filed by the law firm of Thomas & Solomon. It claims the employer did not provide proper notification about a background screening or include a form to request authorization.

    According to the plaintiffs, the documentation from Wegmans also attempted to release the company, employees (past and present) and other relevant entities from any and all liability regarding the dissemination of an applicant's information via a background check report.

    Language in the lawsuit states that the employer acted willfully and had no regard for the rights of the plaintiffs. The suit was filed on behalf of every employee and applicant who was the subject of a background check without their knowledge over the last five years. It asks for a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $1,000 for every alleged violation.

    The Vice President of Media Relations for Wegmans issued a response. She said: "We are confident that our process for screening job applicants, including the disclosure that a background check will be conducted, fully complies with federal law."

    What You Should Know About Running Background Checks

    It is essential for employers to follow regulations established by the FCRA as well as any relevant local and state laws. We often recommend developing and maintaining written documentation about your hiring process. This can include specific rules for running background checks.

    Before initiating a report, you must have signed permission from the applicant. When you do, you may only review data that can legally be used for employment screening. Working with a consumer reporting agency that provides FCRA compliant background checks helps ensure your company follows all relevant rules.

    If you have questions about the background check process or need the necessary documentation to request permission for a report, contact the specialists at Backgrounds Online. We are here Monday – Friday from 5am to 5pm to answer questions and provide assistance.

  • What Every Employer Should Know About the EEOC

    December 27, 2016
    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency that exists to protect job seekers and employees from discrimination.
    Backgrounds Online | December 27, 2016

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency that exists to protect job seekers and employees from discrimination.

    EEOC officials created a set of anti-discrimination recommendations that cover employers in the United States. The commission was established in 1964 as part of the Civil Rights Act. They are based in Washington D.C. and have 53 offices throughout the country.

    Responsibilities of the EEOC

    Their primary duty is to investigate charges of discrimination in the workplace. When a charge is filed, the EEOC investigates to determine whether or not the allegations are justified. If they are, then EEOC representatives work with the employer and the victim to create a resolution.

    This can involve monetary and non-monetary relief for the person who filed the claim. In some cases, adjudication may involve reinstating an individual who was found to be wrongfully terminated or instituting new policies within the company that prevent future instances of discrimination.

    EEOC members also make efforts to prevent discrimination by providing educational materials and technical assistance programs.

    Essential EEOC Guidelines

    The EEOC specifies many types of discrimination. Employers are not allowed to discriminate against applicants because of their:

    • Race
    • Age (for individuals 40 and over)
    • Gender Identity
    • Sexual Orientation
    • Skin Color
    • Genetic Background
    • Origin

    It is also illegal for employers to discriminate against applicants because of their religious beliefs or disabilities. These anti-discriminatory guidelines are not only for job seekers. Employers are equally prohibited from discriminating against current employees in regards to:

    • Promotions
    • Benefits
    • Wages
    • Training Programs
    • Terminations

    The EEOC's Stance on Arrests and Convictions

    Arrest records, and how they may or may not be used when making hiring decisions, are a major topic these days. The Ban the Box movement continues to grow and we frequently see new laws such as the one that prohibits California employers from asking about juvenile criminal records. The EEOC has some clear guidelines on this subject.

    In 2012 the EEOC published an update to a document called the Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It specifies that the EEOC does not prohibit employers from using arrest records or conviction data when making hiring decisions, but it does seek to prevent businesses from using that information to discriminate against a candidate.

    According to the EEOC, there are two ways that employers use arrest records in a discriminatory manner. The first involves treating applicants who have similar criminal records differently due to their skin color, origin or any other protected characteristic. The second prohibits disparate impact discrimination and explains that if a criminal record is used to exclude people of a particular race then the employer must be able to show that the exclusions are relevant to the position and only in place to meet the needs of the business.

    Authority of the EEOC

    The EEOC website states that most businesses with 15 or more employees are covered by their regulations, as are most employment agencies and labor unions. The organization is authorized to investigate discrimination charges against any such organization.

    Upon receiving a discrimination charge, the EEOC launches an investigation. In the event that they confirm an act of discrimination, they endeavor to settle the claim on behalf of the victim. Should they be unable to come to an agreement, then the EEOC has the right to file a lawsuit against the employer.

    Consider the EEOC When Making Hiring Decisions

    When making any employment-related decision, such as whether or not to hire, fire, promote or authorize training for an individual, it is illegal to discriminate based on the characteristics and scenarios referenced above. It is important for businesses to avoid discriminatory practices when looking for candidates, running pre-employment background checks, making hiring decisions or dealing with existing employees.

  • California Employers Cannot Reference Juvenile Records As Of 2017

    December 20, 2016
    An update to existing California law stipulates that as of January 1, 2017, employers may not ask job applicants if they have a juvenile criminal conviction.
    Backgrounds Online | December 20, 2016

    An update to existing California law stipulates that as of January 1, 2017, employers may not ask job applicants if they have a juvenile criminal conviction.

    Employers will also be banned from looking up information about juvenile records on their own or through any third party.

    Existing Law

    It's already illegal for California employers to ask applicants about juvenile arrests that did not result in a conviction. If a candidate has a juvenile conviction, but it was sealed or dismissed, it is also illegal to use that information to make hiring decisions.

    California supports the infamous "Ban the Box" policy, which prohibits employers from asking about criminal convictions on a job application. The upcoming Labor Code update has a similar impact, but it is focused exclusively on juvenile convictions.

    The New Regulations

    As of January 1, 2017, California employers will be prohibited from asking applicants about juvenile criminal records. It will be illegal to ask an applicant to provide written or verbal details about an "arrest, detention, processing, diversion, supervision, adjudication, or court disposition that occurred while the person was subject to the process and jurisdiction of juvenile court law."

    Similarly, employers will not be allowed to use juvenile records to make decisions related to hiring, terminating or promoting employees. It will also be illegal to use a juvenile record when determining whether or not to allow someone access to an apprenticeship or another type of training program that could lead to future employment.

    California employers will not be permitted to ask applicants about juvenile arrests or to seek such information from any source. The new regulations are imposed by Assembly Bill 1843, which is an amendment to Section 432.7 of the California Labor Code.

    Penalties For Violating This Law

    If a job applicant is able to show that a prospective employer referenced their juvenile records during the hiring process, then they will be entitled to bring an action to recover actual damages or $200 (whichever amount is greater). The individual will also have the right to recover "reasonable attorney's fees."

    Employers that are found to intentionally violate the new law may have to pay the applicant actual damages or $500 (whichever amount is greater), costs and attorney fees that are deemed reasonable. Violations of this law will be misdemeanors that are punishable by a fine.

    Exceptions For The Healthcare Industry

    Due to the sensitive nature of the healthcare industry, employers and job seekers must follow a more stringent set of regulations. The updated bill provides key exceptions to employers at health facilities. A definition of the type of facilities that warrant this exception can be found in Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code.

    Any juvenile record, including charges that were dropped and convictions that were dismissed, can be considered for job seekers in the medical field. People who might work in a health facility can be asked about juvenile records that could not otherwise be referenced.

    California Employers Should Update Their Hiring Practices

    We recommend that every employer maintain written documentation about their hiring and screening policies. This can include everything from how to find qualified candidates, best practices for interviews and what type of background check will be run for every position.

    The start of a new year can be an ideal time to review such documentation. California employers may wish to include updates that accommodate the revised laws about juvenile records.

  • Tips For Hiring Employees Who Will Provide Healthcare

    December 13, 2016
    Caregiving is among the most crucial, challenging and sensitive professions. Before hiring caregivers to represent your brand, you must vet and screen each candidate...
    Backgrounds Online | December 13, 2016

    Caregiving is among the most crucial, challenging and sensitive professions. Before hiring caregivers to represent your brand, you must vet and screen each candidate.

    Here are a few tips to help you find individuals who will administer quality, respectful care.

    Consider Your Customer's Needs

    Every customer has specific needs and expectations. For most people, the idea of receiving personal care from someone they don't know is difficult to accept. This is especially true when the required care is of a personal nature. Providers must offer dignified services that set the recipient at ease.

    Consider the needs of your customers and the duties that will likely be required for each position. Depending on the breadth of services your agency offers, you may seek employees who do everything from running errands and cleaning houses to providing ongoing medical or physical assistance. Define the tasks an employee might be expected to perform for all the positions you offer.

    If your agency empowers customers to select a provider online, then the types of care they offer should be listed on their profile. The more information a profile contains about a caregiver's history and skills, the more likely they are to be hired.

    Create Detailed Job Descriptions

    A job description should list anticipated duties for the position, the requisite educational background and any other requirements such as a nursing license or relevant credentials. This is the first step towards eliminating candidates who are not qualified for caregiving careers.

    Include the type of training that is mandatory for each position, physical attributes the candidate must possess (such as the strength to lift and carry a patient) and all necessary skills. You can use your job descriptions for reference when reviewing resumes and identifying eligible candidates.

    Conduct Thorough Interviews

    Comprehensive interviews are an essential component when determining the best choices for your business. Whether you start with phone or in-person interviews, this is a great opportunity to ask questions that gauge the applicant's demeanor and skill level.

    Create a list of questions that cover previous positions and job duties, how they would handle various scenarios they could encounter in the line of duty and if there are tasks they are not willing to perform. Use this list as a guide to steer the interview, and take notes to capture as many details about the candidate as possible.

    Make Sure Applicants are Qualified and Eligible

    It is essential to run a comprehensive background check before hiring anyone for your agency. A background check shows you if the person has criminal records, confirms they have required licenses or credentials and verifies education and employment histories.

    You can customize a background report so it includes everything that is relevant to the position for which you are hiring. When you create a custom report, you can save and use it again for future hiring needs.

    Before hiring someone who will provide medical care, you must first make sure they are eligible. Some people are prohibited from participating in federally funded healthcare programs. Find out if a candidate has been sanctioned with an OIG & EPLS search, or a FACIS® report.

    References Matter

    While vetting potential caregivers, it is advantageous to request and follow up on references. A professional reference supplies useful information about the quality of care the person administered, as well as insight into their demeanor, character and reliability.

    Your customers are looking for someone who can provide essential services to their loved one. It is imperative to only hire people who are qualified and have a solid record. When you request a reference verification, we contact people your candidate worked with previously and ask questions about the caregiver’s work ethic, ability to handle stress, communication and other key skills. The result shows you how an individual was perceived by people for whom they provided care.

    It can be tricky to find candidates who are qualified to care for people with dignity and respect. Start by setting expectations, conducting thorough interviews and running extensive background checks. This helps you identify and hire people who will provide exceptional care while developing a positive rapport with patients and their families.

  • Would You Hire an Applicant Who Has Visible Tattoos?

    December 7, 2016
    A recent study attempted to determine whether or not consumers have a negative view of employees with tattoos. The results showed most people don't even notice...
    Backgrounds Online | December 7, 2016

    A recent study attempted to determine whether or not consumers have a negative view of employees with tattoos. The results showed most people don't even notice.

    About the Study

    This study was conducted by the Old Dominion University (ODU). They ran three experiments that included 1,600 participants. Researchers photographed individuals, and altered the images to add or remove tattoos, then they showed the pictures to people and gauged their reactions.

    The impetus behind this study came from Aaron Arndt, an Associate Professor at ODU. He noticed that many of his students had tattoos and wondered if that might negatively impact their ability to land jobs. He and his colleague, Kiran Karande, also wanted to test the theory that workers with tattoos would receive a more positive reaction from tattooed consumers.

    Most Consumers Were Not Concerned

    Based on the results, having tattoos makes little to no difference. For most participants, it did not matter if the individual they were shown had body art or not. Their reactions were vastly different than what might have been expected several years ago.

    This is probably because so many people have tattoos these days. One study suggests that nearly 25% of Americans have at least one tattoo. Now that body art is so common, it may not be much of a factor in how people are perceived when they have visible ink.

    The Similarity-Attraction Effect

    Part of the study endeavored to determine whether or not a tattooed employee would receive a favorable reaction from consumers who also have tattoos. Arndt and Karande tested the theory, known as the Similarity-Attraction Effect, that people are attracted to others who have some resemblance to them. This idea, however, was disproven, at least when it came to tattoos.

    The study concluded that it made no difference to people if the employee they were dealing with was tattooed or not. Even when the consumer had tattoos, they did not display a more approving or sympathetic reaction. This could be a telling sign to businesses that are hesitant to hire people who have visible body art.

    Can Businesses Refuse Employment to Tattooed Applicants?

    Employers have a right to enforce dress codes, grooming policies and related rules. Some companies do not allow their staff to have visible tattoos, though this can often be resolved with long-sleeve shirts or other clothing options.

    The only time it is not legal to refuse employment to someone who has tattoos is when doing so violates an anti-discrimination law. Before a hiring manager decides not to select someone because they have body art, it is advisable to first consult with legal counsel and make sure they are not committing any such violation.

    Would You Hire Someone Who Has Tattoos?

    There are many factors to consider when determining whether or not to hire a candidate. Are they qualified for the job? Do they have the educational or employment history you require? Did they pass their background check? We encourage every business to maintain written documentation that explains hiring procedures and helps managers make those crucial decisions.

    According to the ODU study, having employees with tattoos is unlikely to be seen in a negative light by most of the public. While body art may not give your employees an edge with tattooed customers, it can be helpful to know that most consumers are unlikely to care, or even notice.

  • Prop 64 Could Impact Your Recruiting and Screening Policies

    November 29, 2016
    Proposition 64 made it legal for adults in California to grow and use recreational marijuana and other states passed similar laws. How will this affect your business?...
    Backgrounds Online | November 29, 2016

    Proposition 64 made it legal for adults in California to grow and use recreational marijuana and other states passed similar laws. How will this affect your business?

    Proposition 64 at a Glance

    The passing of Proposition 64 could have an immediate effect on California businesses. To better understand the potential impact, it helps to know what this law does and does not do.

    It does:

    • Make it legal for adults (people who are 21 or older) to "possess, transport, purchase, consume and share up to one ounce of marijuana and eight grams of marijuana concentrates."
    • Allow adults to grow marijuana plants in a "fully enclosed and secure" manner.
    • Reduce or eliminate criminal penalties for some, but not all marijuana-based offenses.
    • Make it legal to sell marijuana with a license (this may not happen until 2018).
    • Establish a 15% excise tax on marijuana sales.

    It does not:

    • Allow for public marijuana usage.
    • Make it legal to drive while under the influence of marijuana.
    • Authorize everyone to grow and sell marijuana - sellers must apply for and receive a license from the state.

    Thousands of People Could Enter the Job Market

    Proposition 64 did more than legalize certain aspects of recreational marijuana. It also retroactively de-criminalized possession, use and transportation for people who are at least 21. This could have a major impact on three groups.

    • People who have open charges for possession, cultivation or transportation of marijuana may have their cases dismissed.
    • People who are currently in prison for marijuana-related charges can petition to have their sentence reduced or canceled.
    • People who served time for marijuana-related activities that are no longer crimes may petition to have those records expunged.

    Thousands of California residents have been convicted of misdemeanors and felonies for growing, carrying or selling marijuana. The passing of Prop 64 means some of those activities are no longer crimes. The "Golden State" could have a large number of people re-entering the job market in the near future.

    Some Criminal Records Will Become Irrelevant

    When someone has a criminal record expunged, it cannot be used for employment or other screening purposes. It is imperative for employers to only review records that are up-to-date and accurate. At Backgrounds Online, we provide current, reportable information that can legally be used to make hiring decisions.

    Regardless of whether or not someone who was once charged with a marijuana-based offense has that record annulled, the charge might not be valid for employment screening purposes. Therefore, such criminal charges should not be used to make hiring decisions. We recommend that California employers consult with their HR or legal team to discuss how to proceed.

    Will Other States Adopt Similar Propositions?

    California was not the only state to pass new regulations regarding the use of medical marijuana. Similar laws were passed in Nevada and Massachusetts.

    There is no way to know if other states will do the same, but it is a possibility. This is something employers throughout the country should be aware of and watch out for. Our staff endeavors to keep up with laws that impact employment screening procedures. Follow our blog for news on this and other important topics that could affect your business.

    Update Your Background Screening Policies

    Every company should maintain written employment screening policies. These documents should be reviewed periodically and updated as needed.

    This is a good time for California employers to update their internal documentation and consider the changes they will face from Prop 64. We suggest including information about the types of records you are looking for when running a background check and what steps will be taken if those records are found. Use this documentation to help keep your business compliant and consistent during future hiring campaigns.

  • Is Your Company Hiring? Have You Considered Military Veterans?

    November 22, 2016
    The military is known for discipline, training and education. People who have that background possess skills that can easily translate to the civilian workforce...
    Backgrounds Online | November 22, 2016

    The military is known for discipline, training and education. People who have that background possess skills that can easily translate to the civilian workforce.

    Veterans at Government Agencies

    A recent Federal News Radio article explained that vets made up 32.5% of federal hiring in 2015. Government agencies hired more veterans in one year than they did in the previous five. This could be due to an executive order signed by President Barack Obama in 2009.

    Most of the vets accepted administrative jobs, and a large percent were hired for technical and blue collar positions. Their employers are now enjoying the benefits of adding former military personnel to the workforce. Your business could also take advantage of perks that come from hiring veterans.

    Benefits of Hiring Vets

    Varied Skillset. Veterans undergo intense training and educational programs that teach them an array of useful skills. According to VetJobs.com, most vets have advanced training in technology, leadership and operations. These attributes are always in demand by the private sector.

    Team Mentality. Military personnel are taught to work together and rely on each other. Veterans understand team objectives, and how to use their talents to benefit the group.

    Responsibility. This is one of the most important things veterans learn. They are taught to take their responsibilities seriously, and follow through until every goal is accomplished.

    Computer Training. The media kit from Vet Jobs states: "60% of the enlisted personnel can program in at least one computer language." Vets that don't have programming skills are still likely to be computer savvy. Another key statistic discloses: "92% of active duty military in the United States use computers at their places of duty."

    Tax Breaks. Businesses that employ eligible vets between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2019 can receive Work Opportunity Tax Credits (WOTC). Employers may claim 40% of $14,000 wages for employing veterans for 27 consecutive weeks. Businesses that hire veterans for a minimum of 4 weeks may qualify for a credit of 40% for $6,000 wages. Learn more and see the WOTC calculator at military.com.

    New Veterans Joining the Workforce

    Currently, there are around 11 million veterans in the workforce and hat number is likely to skyrocket. Approximately 175,000 people will be discharged from active duty annually for the next few years.

    Your business could have numerous opportunities to interview and hire qualified vets. Before you do, experts suggest acquiring a basic understanding of the military so you have a better perception of their background and how to help them succeed.

    Multiple studies have shown that veterans tend to leave civilian jobs because they feel overqualified. As you develop a deeper understanding of the skills veterans possess, it will help you determine what types of tasks to assign to your employees, and therefore increase your retention rate.

    Finding and Screening Veterans

    When you have job openings, you probably post them on your own website and multiple job boards. You can also post on sites that cater to veterans like hireveterans.com and militaryhire.com. Announce a few openings on these sites, determine what works best, and develop plans for future postings based on your results.

    Before you hire any veteran or civilian, it is important to run employment background checks to make sure the person is qualified and eligible for employment. These reports confirm the person's identity, show you important information about their personal and professional past, and inform you if they have criminal records of which you should be aware.

    Every business needs skilled, reliable employees who can help them grow and prosper. The next time your company is searching for people, consider veterans who would be a good fit. Former members of any military branch can become a great asset to your business.

  • Taking Adverse Action Based on a Background Check

    November 15, 2016
    You conduct an interview and feel you've found an ideal candidate. Then, a background check shows the person is not qualified or eligible for the job. What should you do next?...
    Backgrounds Online | November 15, 2016

    You conduct an interview and feel you've found an ideal candidate. Then, a background check shows the person is not qualified or eligible for the job. What should you do next?

    Start with a Screening Plan

    Before answering that question, we're going to backtrack a bit. Every business should develop a written plan that sets guidelines and expectations for the entire hiring process.

    Most businesses hire for a variety of positions. Create screening policies for every position you might need to fill, and refer to them whenever you are hiring. These documents should discuss initial screening and interview practices, the type of background check you will run for every position, what you are looking for in the results, and what might warrant an adverse action.

    Creating these policies helps you establish a reliable hiring process and shows hiring managers what steps to take when an individual is not eligible for employment.

    Pre-Adverse Notification

    An adverse action is defined as anything that is unfavorable to a consumer. In a hiring scenario, the adverse action is generally denying employment to an applicant. Before that happens, you must send the individual a pre-adverse notification.

    The pre-adverse notice informs a candidate that an adverse action is being considered, but is not currently in progress. Along with this notice, the person must also receive a written Summary of Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a copy of their background check, and time to contest the results of their report.

    No specific amount of time is specified, but the recommended minimum is one week and best practice is around 30 days. During this time, the applicant has the right to file a dispute if they believe the background check was unfair or inaccurate.

    Sending Adverse Notification

    If the applicant does not dispute the results of their background check, then the employer may initiate an adverse action. There are specific steps that must be followed.

    The applicant must be notified of the impending action. This involves informing the person that they did not get the job to which they applied. They must also receive a Summary of Their Rights Under the FCRA, and contact information for the Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) that prepared their background check. This allows the applicant to initiate a dispute with the CRA if they feel it is warranted.

    Maintain Consistency and Fairness

    One of the most important things to do when hiring is to establish and follow fair, consistent screening policies. This helps you find the best people for any job, and determine when it is time to initiate pre-adverse actions.

    Just because an applicant has something that might be construed as negative on their record does not necessarily mean they aren't eligible for employment. At Backgrounds Online, we provide comprehensive reports that contain the facts you need to make the best possible hiring choices. Turn to us for background checks that can be used to determine an applicant's eligibility, and for the documentation you need when you must make the decision to not offer employment.

    Follow FCRA Regulations

    It is essential for businesses to follow FCRA regulations throughout the hiring process. We've seen numerous stories about large companies that have been hit with lawsuits or other legal entanglements because they failed to adhere to the requirements set forth by state and federal laws.

    At Backgrounds Online, we endeavor to keep up with new and evolving laws that impact our customers. If you have questions about screening your applicants, or if you need to initiate a pre-adverse notification, then contact us for assistance.

    Please note that we do not provide legal advice in any way. We do, however, offer sample pre-adverse and adverse letters, as well as the consumer's Summary of Rights Under the FCRA.

  • Hiring Holiday Help? Don’t Skip The Background Checks

    November 7, 2016
    Is your business hiring additional staff this holiday season? If so, then one of the most important steps is to run background checks before offering any jobs.
    Backgrounds Online | November 7, 2016
    Is your business hiring additional staff this holiday season? If so, then one of the most important steps is to run background checks before offering any jobs.

    Thousands of businesses need extra help in November, December and January. It might seem faster or easier to skip the screening process for temporary employees, but doing so could have a negative impact on your company and your bottom line.

    When you hire people who will only be employed for a short time, you face the same uncertainties you encounter while hiring full-time employees. Screening your top candidates before extending any offers helps protect your business, staff and brand.

    Employee Theft

    It's unfortunate, but employee theft is an issue that many businesses encounter. This is especially true when the staff has direct access to office supplies, merchandise or cash. Running pre-employment background checks alleviates some of that risk.

    Background checks can include an array of criminal searches. Use them to see if a candidate has a misdemeanor, felony or other offense. Backgrounds Online offers county, state, national and international criminal searches that inform you if your applicant was convicted of theft or related crimes.

    There is no way to predict someone's future behavior, but background reports provide crucial details about a person's past to help you make educated hiring decisions.

    Employee Fraud

    There are several types of fraud, and they have varying degrees of severity. A background check confirms crucial facts to help you uncover fraudulent activities.

    First, a background check substantiates an individual's identity with a Social Security Number Trace. This search verifies that your candidate is the person they claim to be. It is the most accurate way to properly identify every candidate during the screening process.

    Job seekers sometimes commit minor acts of fraud when applying to positions for which they are not fully qualified. This can include exaggerating their work history or responsibilities, claiming to have diplomas or credentials they have not yet earned and similar scenarios. People who commit these infractions may be well-intentioned, but it is crucial for hiring managers to know that potential employees have the proper qualifications.

    Serious Criminal Histories

    Many people have minor criminal offenses that should not negatively impact their ability to land a job. However, it is important for business owners and managers to know if a candidate has a serious criminal record such as an assault, sexual offense or murder.

    Backgrounds Online provides authoritative reports that only contain reportable information – meaning data that can legally be used to make hiring choices. Before you offer temporary employment, make sure you know if someone you're considering was convicted of a serious criminal offense.

    If you don't screen seasonal employees, you could hire someone who is not properly qualified, or who might pose a risk to your business, employees and customers. As you go through your hiring process and narrow your list of candidates, run background checks on all the people you are considering. Rely on our comprehensive reports to help you make informed decisions for temporary and permanent employees.

    We hope you have a successful and prosperous holiday season.

  • Local Court Delays That Could Impact Your Background Check

    October 27, 2016
    Background checks are sometimes delayed because vital documents are not readily available from county courthouses. Currently, several locations are reporting issues...
    Backgrounds Online | October 19, 2016

    Background checks are sometimes delayed because vital documents are not readily available from county courthouses. Currently, several locations are reporting issues.

    Reports in CA, GA, NH, TN and VA could be affected. If you are running background checks on candidates in these states, please take note of the potential delays.

    California Courthouse Delays

    We have news from six California counties:

    Alameda County
    The Alameda courthouse recently upgraded to a new computer system. Unfortunately, they have not yet uploaded all of their records. In some cases, our researchers must go directly to county clerks to acquire important documents. This can cause minor delays, but we will endeavor to retrieve any data you need as quickly as possible. Please note: records that are more than 12 years old may incur additional fees.

    Contra Costa County
    There are delays in Contra Costa because of a minor staff shortage. They are working hard to keep up with all requests, but we've been told to expect some lag time.

    San Diego County
    Due to recent personnel changes, we are limited on the number of documents we can obtain in one visit. Accordingly, we will need to make additional trips to acquire all the records we need. This will cause minor delays for background checks from San Diego.

    San Joaquin County
    The San Joaquin court is experiencing difficulties with their electronic system, so documents must be pulled manually. As a result, we are only allowed to request 25 records each day. They are working on this issue and expect to have it resolved quickly.

    Santa Clara County
    We’ve been experiencing delays in Santa Clara, and are told they will continue for a while longer. The court recently acquired a new database, and the staff is still being trained on proper operation. At this time, we are only able to request 25 documents per day.

    Shasta County
    Unfortunately, we have been told to expect major delays in Shasta County. We have not received further updates at this time.

    Georgia Courthouse Delays

    The database used in Bibb County, GA has not been recently available. We are told it is now operational, but the courts are dealing with a backlog of orders.

    Our researches are coordinating with county clerks to obtain the documents you need as quickly as possible. GA clerks are endeavoring to catch up and process their accumulated requests. When this happens, turnaround time for reports will improve.

    New Hampshire Courthouse Delays

    Currently, there are delays throughout the state. County clerks are approximately one week behind in processing requests.

    While these delays are minor, if you are running a background check on someone in NH, your results may take longer than usual.

    Tennessee Courthouse Delays

    The courthouse in Madison, TN is going through an upgrade, and their electronic system will be temporarily unavailable. We are coordinating with county clerks to obtain the records we need during this time.

    There is no word yet on when the upgrade will be complete. We hope to have updates on this situation soon.

    Virginia Courthouse Delays

    If you are running background reports on candidates in the Norfolk City area, then please be aware that the courthouse is expecting substantial delays. There is currently a 30 to 90 day turnaround time for records from this county. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

    Reports in Nueces Texas Are Being Processed

    There is good news for anyone running background checks in the Nueces, Texas area. Their system is operational again, and requests are now being processed.

    At Backgrounds Online, we work hard to keep you informed so you know what to expect when ordering background checks. We will continue to apprise you of court delays or anything else that might impact the background screening process.

    If you have questions about a report you ordered, or one you are planning to order, then contact our screening specialists for assistance.