Backgrounds Online Blog

  • Citigroup Fined $1.25M For Insufficient Background Checks​

    February 20, 2020
    The financial services company is alleged to have hired three convicts due to inadequate background screening policies.
    Backgrounds Online | February 20, 2020


    The financial services company is alleged to have hired three convicts due to inadequate background screening policies.

    Insufficient Background Screening

    Financial giant Citigroup allegedly failed to properly background screen applicants for their Broker-Dealer division over a 7-year period. According to a news article, the company neglected to run background checks on numerous people who were hired between January 2010 and May 2017.

    During this time, three hires were found to have criminal records that should have disqualified them. Existing laws stipulate that people with certain types of convictions may not work in positions that grant them access to sensitive financial data.

    Citigroup Fined

    This matter was considered by the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). They levied a fine against Citigroup in the amount of $1.2 million. While the company has not admitted or denied fault, they agreed to pay the full amount.

    Susan Schroeder, the head of FINRA enforcement, spoke about this issue. She said: “FINRA member firms must live up to their responsibility as a gatekeeper protecting investors from bad actors. It is important that firms appropriately screen all employees for past criminal or regulatory events that can disqualify individuals from associating with member firms, even in a non-registered capacity.”

    A Similar Story

    Citigroup is not the only large financial company to be fined for failing to properly background screen employees. JPMorgan Chase faced a similar charge in 2017. It was alleged that this company neglected to run background checks and therefore hired former convicts who were granted access to personal banking information about thousands of customers.

    Like Citigroup, JPMorgan was hit with a $1.25 million fine from FINRA.

    Hiring People With Criminal Records

    Employers in the United States must comply with relevant Second Chance laws that help people who have criminal records find employment. However, every employer is still expected to run background checks on potential employees, volunteers and contractors. Millions of Americans have minor convictions that would not disqualify them from most positions, but some offenses are serious enough to make the person ineligible for hire.

    Both Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase were charged large fines for allegedly having inadequate background screening policies. This is a strong reminder that it is essential for every organization to perform due diligence and screen anyone who might be allowed to represent their brand.

    We recommend having written hiring and background screening policies that cover what types of potentially adverse information you are looking for in a background check and which offenses could disqualify a job seeker. Have your legal counsel review and approve these policies to ensure they are compliant with applicable laws.

    Are Your Background Screening Policies Sufficient?

    Do you run background checks when bringing on new people? Have you implemented ongoing criminal monitoring to see if current employees incur new convictions?

    If you are not properly screening your candidates, then you could face investigations, fines, a loss of trust in your brand and other repercussions. Thankfully, it’s easy to run comprehensive and compliant background checks. When you’re ready to begin, please contact us.

    Our team is highly experienced at building customized screening packages that provide the facts you need to determine if someone is eligible to work for you. We are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • ​HR Professionals Encourage Employers To Hire Former Convicts​

    February 18, 2020
    To help employers find qualified applicants, HR giants like SHRM encourage hiring managers to consider people with criminal histories.
    Backgrounds Online | February 18, 2020


    To help employers find qualified applicants, HR giants like SHRM encourage hiring managers to consider people with criminal histories.

    A “Human Capital” Crisis

    The online publication HR Technologist suggests “Human Capital Crisis” has become a common term to describe a shortage of job seekers in the United States. They published an article about hiring applicants who have criminal records. It stated that unemployment has been consistently low and this trend is expected to continue. While this is positive news, it also indicates employers are having trouble finding people to fill crucial roles.

    Their article mentioned that artificial intelligence is a commonly used HR tool. Software programs can identify applicants who have sizable gaps in their employment history, potentially due to a period of incarceration. The author encouraged employers to consider qualified candidates who have employment gaps due to time in prison if they have not incurred additional convictions.

    Getting Talent Back To Work

    The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) launched an initiative called Getting Talent Back to Work (GTBW) in 2019. Their website states that around 700,000 people are released from prison each year, only to be “re-sentenced” by their inability to find jobs. GTBW asks employers to take a pledge that confirms they will consider people who have criminal records.

    This Pledge provides statistics such as:
    - One in three adults have a criminal record.
    - 95% of the people in prison now will be released, meaning they will eventually need employment.
    - Nearly 7.8 million jobs need to be filled in the U.S.
    - 82% of hiring managers agree that workers who have a criminal history are often among their most productive employees.

    Employers that take the Pledge are vowing to consider people who have criminal histories. SHRM says organizations that do this join a “coalition of diverse businesses that represent a major portion of the American workforce.” They also say hiring former convicts provides three primary benefits:
    1. Employers gain a more diverse pool of potentially qualified workers.
    2. There is an intrinsic value to providing second chances to people.
    3. When former convicts land jobs, they can improve their lives and the community.

    See the Pledge.

    Numerous Laws Encourage Employers To Consider Former Convicts

    Lawmakers across the country have shown they agree with organizations like SHRM. Numerous bills prohibit employers from inquiring about criminal records until after conducting an interview and considering the applicant’s qualifications.

    Other bills have also been passed to help people find employment despite having criminal histories. They include laws that make it easy for people to expunge minor convictions after a certain period of time or require employers to individually assess a person’s offenses and determine if they warrant an adverse action. The GTBW Pledge is voluntary, but every employer must follow Second Chance laws that are active where they operate.

    Running Background Checks

    Second Chance laws and initiatives like the one created by SHRM all acknowledge the need for employers to run comprehensive background checks. It is the responsibility of every employer to perform due diligence and take steps to create safe workplaces.

    When you’re ready to bring on employees, contractors or volunteers, please contact us. Our highly trained team can help you customize background checks based on industry requirements and the needs of each position. We’re available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • A New York Senator Pushes For Background Checks​

    February 13, 2020
    NY Senator Chuck Schumer issued a Press Release and sent a letter to the Department Of Justice regarding their alleged delay of a new background check system.
    Backgrounds Online | February 13, 2020


    NY Senator Chuck Schumer issued a Press Release and sent a letter to the Department Of Justice regarding their alleged delay of a new background check system.

    An Act To Protect Vulnerable Populations

    In 2018, a bill known as the Child Protection Improvements Act (CPIA) was signed into law. It was designed to protect children, the elderly and people with disabilities. To accomplish this, the Act called for the Department Of Justice (DOJ) to create a system from which organizations can run FBI background checks on candidates who might be hired to work with vulnerable populations.

    This system was mandated to be in place by March 2019. As of November 2019, that had still not occurred. New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a staunch supporter of the CPIA, got involved to try and move things forward.

    Senator Schumer Speaks Out

    On November 10, 2019, Senator Schumer issued a Press Release that asked the DOJ to explain why a method for obtaining FBI background checks had not been implemented. Schumer stressed that the safety of children and other vulnerable populations is paramount.

    He wrote: “Protecting children, the elderly and people with disabilities from abuse must be a major priority at the Department of Justice, but this no-excuse delay with implementing the Child Protection Improvement Act really makes you worry. We have to have robust employment checks when it comes to staffing afterschool programs, preschools, nursing homes and other organizations that employ people whose job it is to oversee members of a vulnerable population.” Read the Press Release.

    In addition to the Press Release, Schumer made several appearances at events in New York. He publicly called for the DOJ to act and repeated that protecting kids from potential sex offenders and abusers is a federal priority. Schumer declared the background check system must be implemented immediately and expressed concern that without it, a tragedy could occur.

    Sex Offender Statistics

    New York is said to have more than 8,000 people listed on sex offender registries within five counties. According to an article from the Democrat & Chronicle website, the number of registered offenders in New York has increased by 60% over the last decade.

    The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children revealed that there are more than 800,000 sex offenders in the United States. Senator Schumer looks at these statistics as a strong call-to-action for introducing stronger background screening policies. He commented: “This failure to implement the law that makes those checks stronger and easier to accomplish locally endangers the very innocents we sought to protect. That’s why the Department of Justice needs to tell Congress what is going on and then get moving.”

    More Support For Stronger Background Checks

    The Senator is not alone in his efforts. The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC) is also calling for the DOJ to act. Steve Forrester, the Director of Government Relations and Administration at The NYSPCC, issued a statement on this matter.

    “As the world’s first child protection agency, The NYSPCC strongly supports the swift implementation of the Child Protection Improvements Act. There are dire consequences for children when pedophiles, and other unsafe adults in positions of trust, gain access to them. In-depth background checks are one of the most important tools that administrators of child-serving organizations have for hiring safe and appropriate employees and volunteers. The CPIA strengthens the screening process in all states, and must be implemented without further delay,”

    The Urgency Of Background Screening

    When consumers use the services of any business or organization, they expect people who work for those brands to be thoroughly background screened. Comprehensive background checks show employers if a candidate has a sexual, violent or another serious criminal record that makes them ineligible for hire. Running them is an essential part of the due diligence process.

    The team at Backgrounds Online can help customize background screening packages that are ideal for any position. Contact us Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm for expert assistance.

  • Waterloo, Iowa Bans The Box​

    February 11, 2020
    Organizations in Waterloo with 15 or more employees may not inquire about an applicant’s criminal history until they extend a conditional job offer.
    Backgrounds Online | February 11, 2020


    Organizations in Waterloo with 15 or more employees may not inquire about an applicant’s criminal history until they extend a conditional job offer.

    Waterloo’s Ban The Box Ordinance

    The City of Waterloo, Iowa passed a Ban the Box law for organizations with 15 or more employees. It prohibits covered employers from:

    · Including questions about criminal records on job applications.
    · Asking job seekers if they have convictions, arrests or pending charges during the initial application process.
    · Taking adverse actions based exclusively on a candidate’s record of arrest or a pending charge.
    · Taking adverse actions based on criminal records that have been expunged.

    Waterloo employers are encouraged to run comprehensive criminal background checks, but only after extending conditional job offers. If the results show an applicant has violent offenses or other convictions that make them ineligible for a position, the employer should then take an adverse action.

    Adverse Actions

    Employers in Waterloo may deny employment based on the results of a background check. The Ordinance states that an employer must have a legitimate business reason. These include:

    · Situations in which the offense has a “direct and substantial bearing on the fitness or ability to perform the duties or responsibilities of the intended employment” when the employer considers the following factors:
    - The location where work will be performed.
    - The seriousness of an offense.
    - Whether employment creates an opportunity for the individual to commit a similar offense.
    - How much time has passed since the conviction.
    - The number and types of convictions or pending charges.
    · If hiring the person creates an unreasonable risk to property or the safety of employees, customers or the public.
    · If the position involves working with vulnerable populations such as children, disabled adults or people who were victimized by various types of crime.

    What Waterloo Employers Should Know

    This Ban the Box Ordinance goes into effect on July 1, 2020. Once active, employers in Waterloo Iowa must be in compliance. Failure to follow these laws could result in lawsuits and other repercussions.

    Learn more.

    Nationwide Second Chance Movement

    The Waterloo Ordinance is one of many Second Chance laws. Employers throughout the nation are being asked to consider applicants based on their merit and qualifications before running background checks. Millions of Americans have criminal records, but most of them would not warrant an adverse action such as denial of employment.

    The Second Chance Movement intends to help people with minor and outdated convictions find employment. “Ban the Box” laws like the one in Waterloo are created to help residents rejoin society and avoid recidivism. They are also intended to help employers by giving them access to a larger pool of qualified job seekers.

    Stay Compliant With Ban The Box Laws

    It is the responsibility of every employer to comply with federal, state and local laws that cover the hiring and background screening process. Backgrounds Online encourages employers to maintain written hiring policies that include Ban the Box and other relevant laws. Have legal counsel sign off on your documentation before sharing it with everyone involved in the hiring process.

    When you’re ready to run background checks, please contact us. Our team is highly experienced and able to help you build custom screening packages that comply with laws where you operate. We are available Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • Colorado Schools Debate Volunteer Background Checks​

    February 04, 2020
    Volunteers at Roaring Fork School District in CO must be background screened. Some residents may not volunteer because of their citizenship status.
    Backgrounds Online | February 04, 2020


    Volunteers at Roaring Fork School District in CO must be background screened. Some residents may not volunteer because of their citizenship status.

    Background Check Discussions In Roaring Fork

    Background screening is an important topic within the Roaring Fork District of Colorado. People who want to volunteer at local schools must authorize and pass a background check. While it is essential to screen anyone who might work with or around children, some qualified residents may be hesitant to volunteer due to their citizenship status.

    Potential volunteers are currently required to submit to a fingerprint background check. One mandatory form used in this process asks the person if they are a “legal alien,” “illegal alien,” or “pending.” School Superintendent Rob Stein believes residents should not have to answer such questions. He said: “It feels unsafe for many of our community members to provide this information, and it’s not information that’s necessary for this purpose.”

    Three CO residents who were vying for a seat on the local school board addressed the issue of properly vetting volunteers. Candidate, Jasmin Ramirez spoke in favor of background checks while expressing concerns about losing potentially eligible people. Ramirez said: “None of the parents, either documented or not, want to eliminate background checks. This is not about getting our fingerprints taken. … It’s literally about one question that says, are you legal, or are you not here legally, and the fear that causes for our families in this community.”

    Levels Of Background Screening

    Everyone involved in the discussion wants to ensure background checks are run on each person who volunteers at a school. One concept they’ve considered is establishing different levels of screenings based on the responsibilities for each position.

    For example, some volunteers will be under constant supervision from a teacher or another school representative. Others will take on duties such as chaperoning overnight trips. People who would have direct access to students might be put through a more comprehensive background screening than those who wouldn’t.

    District officials are considering options for the current policy. Most background checks do not require fingerprints. Employers that work with Consumer Reporting Agencies, such as Backgrounds Online, have the option to customize background screening packages based on the needs and requirements of any position or industry.

    Safety Comes First

    While no one wants to exclude qualified volunteers, the safety of each student is paramount. Shane Larson, an incumbent board representative, shared thoughts about this: “Like everybody else, we do not want to jeopardize the safety of children, but we also absolutely do not want to put barriers for those who want to volunteer to be in the schools.”

    The district has scheduled public forums to discuss this important topic. Their goal is to make sure that schools have eligible volunteers while also ensuring they do not bring on people who may pose a risk to students or faculty.

    Takeaway For Organizations

    Every organization that has volunteers, employees or contractors is responsible for background screening each person. This shows they are performing due diligence and taking important steps to create a safe work environment. When vulnerable populations such as children are included, thorough screening becomes even more critical.

    Backgrounds Online offers complete customization of background check packages. If you are bringing on people to represent your brand, please contact us. We are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • Many Pennsylvania Criminal Records Could Be Sealed​

    January 28, 2020
    Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill that makes certain types of criminal records eligible for expungement.
    Backgrounds Online | January 28, 2020


    Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill that makes certain types of criminal records eligible for expungement.

    The Clean Slate Bill

    In 2018, Pennsylvania legislators passed The Clean Slate Bill. It was created to help people with certain types of criminal records find employment and housing. Governor Wolf spoke in favor of this initiative. He said: “I am proud to sign this legislation, which will make it easier for those who have interacted with the justice system to reduce the stigma they face when looking for employment and housing.”

    The bill established guidelines for residents to file a petition to “block disclosure” of their criminal records. If a request is approved, then the person’s records will no longer be available to landlords, employers or other public organizations. They would still be available to criminal justice and government agencies.

    Only certain types of convictions can be blocked. They include misdemeanors that resulted in a maximum of 5 years of imprisonment and were not violent or sexual offenses. To be eligible, the person must not have been convicted of any crime in the last ten years and paid all fees associated with their sentence.

    Act 56

    A second part of the Clean Slate Bill, Act 56, went into effect on June 28, 2019. It calls for criminal records to be sealed under specific circumstances. For example, state and local police must remove notations of arrests, indictments and details about criminal proceedings before releasing records to an individual or non-criminal justice agency if:
    · Three years have passed since the arrest.
    · No conviction occurred.
    · There are no pending charges.

    Act 56 also limits access to criminal records if:
    · A conviction was a misdemeanor of the second degree, third degree or punishable by imprisonment for no more than 2 years if the person has been “free for 10 years from conviction for any offense punishable by imprisonment of one or more years and if completion of each court-ordered financial obligation of the sentence has occurred.”
    · Charges resulted in a disposition other than a conviction.
    · Ten years passed since a conviction for a summary offense if all financial obligations of the sentence have also been completed.

    Act 56 of the Clean Slate Bill was created to:
    · Reduce the rate of recidivism.
    · Provide “hope” and prevent hardships for people who have criminal histories but are attempting to rehabilitate their lives.
    · Save the Commonwealth money by reducing the amount of time spent on the administration of criminal justice.

    Learn more about Act 56.

    Second Chance Laws

    Pennsylvania is one of many states to pass legislation that helps people with minor or outdated criminal records. Examples include laws that:
    · Prohibit employers from asking about convictions on job applications.
    · Require employers to individually assess criminal offenses.
    · Create easier methods to seal certain types of convictions.
    · Provide other resources to help people re-enter society.

    Consult with your legal counsel to ensure you are compliant with second chance and other laws where you operate.

    Running Background Checks

    Every organization is responsible for performing due diligence and running comprehensive background checks on candidates, volunteers, employees and contractors. While many offenses are minor and would not disqualify a job seeker, hiring someone who has a violent or sexual criminal history could put your business, customers and employees at risk. Criminal background checks provide the details you need to make informed decisions and create a safe work environment.

    When you’re ready to start the background screening process, please contact us. We make efforts to keep up with relevant state laws and every member of our processing team earns their FCRA certification. We’re available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • Opposition To California Law AB5​

    January 23, 2020
    AB5, the bill that defines how California employers differentiate between employees and contractors, is under fire from several organizations.
    Backgrounds Online | January 21, 2020


    AB5, the bill that defines how California employers differentiate between employees and contractors, is under fire from several organizations.

    An Initiative To Overturn AB5 For On Demand Drivers

    On January 2, 2020, the California Attorney General released information about proposed Initiative 19-0026, which seeks to overturn AB5 for “app-based” delivery and transportation drivers. To get this initiative on the ballot, nearly 625,000 verified signatures must be obtained. The initiative, which is primarily sponsored by Lyft, Uber and DoorDash, states that it intends to establish:

    “Different criteria for determining whether app-based transportation (rideshare) and delivery drivers are "employees" or "independent contractors." Independent contractors are not entitled to certain state-law protections afforded employees—including minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, and workers' compensation. Instead, companies with independent contractor drivers will be required to provide specified alternative benefits, including minimum compensation and healthcare subsidies based on engaged driving time, vehicle insurance, safety training, and sexual harassment policies. Restricts local regulation of app-based drivers; criminalizes impersonation of such drivers; requires background checks.”

    Rally To Repeal

    California Assemblyman Kevin Kiley opposes AB5. He helped organize a “Rally to Repeal” the state law. It will be held be on January 28 on the northern steps of the California State Capitol building at 10am. Following the rally, attendees are encouraged to visit their representatives and explain how the law affects them.

    Kiley also introduced Assembly Bill 1928 to repeal AB5. It states: “This bill would repeal those existing provisions and instead require a determination of whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor to be based on the specific multifactor test set forth in Borello, including whether the person to whom service is rendered has the right to control the manner and means of accomplishing the result desired, and other identified factors. The bill would make related, conforming changes.
    This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.”

    Protect App-Based Drivers & Services

    A website known as Protect App-Based Drivers & Services asks visitors to support independent drivers and oppose AB5. The group is said to be comprised of a “coalition of on-demand drivers and network companies, small businesses, community groups and public safety organizations.”

    According to the site, AB5 “jeopardizes the freedom of hundreds of thousands of Californians to choose to work as independent contractors with app-based rideshare and delivery network platforms, and threatens the availability of these on-demand services that millions of Californians rely on daily.”

    Visitors to the site are asked to join and show their support. Upon joining, individuals will receive auto-dialed calls and texts with updates about the campaign to repeal AB5. Learn more.

    Takeaway For California Employers

    AB5 is currently in effect, so employers in California should be familiar with this law. If you haven’t done so yet, you may wish to consult with your legal counsel to ensure your organization is in compliance.

    Whether you’re bringing on employees or contractors, an essential part of the hiring process is running comprehensive background checks. They provide the information employers need to make informed decisions, demonstrate due diligence and create safe workplaces.

    When you’re ready to screen candidates, please contact us. Our experienced team will help you build custom background check packages for any type of position. We are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • California Bill AB5 Defines Employee Vs. Contractor​

    January 21, 2020
    On January 1, 2020, California Bill AB5 went into effect. It created stricter guidelines for determining if a worker is an employee or contractor.
    Backgrounds Online | January 21, 2020


    On January 1, 2020, California Bill AB5 went into effect. It created stricter guidelines for determining if a worker is an employee or contractor.

    History Of The Bill

    California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 18, 2019 and went into effect on January 1, 2020. The bill updated a decision made in the case of Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles. That case analyzed the definitions of employees and independent contractors as they were previously established in the 1989 case of Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Department of Industry Relations (Borello).

    The Borello decision created a “right to control” test to help define an employment relationship. It was used to establish if a worker could be fired “at will”, how a person would be paid for a job and if the parties agreed they were implementing an employer/employee relationship.

    In their Dynamex decision, the California Supreme Court created a three-step process called the “ABC Test.” Employers were asked to consider three factors when bringing on new workers. Depending on the outcome, the employer would determine if a worker was an employee or contractor.

    Updated ABC Test

    Some California legislators felt the ABC Test made it too easy for employers to classify workers as contractors. They updated the test to help ensure more people would be considered employees and thus gain additional rights and benefits. AB5 states that the misclassification of contractors has been a “significant factor in the erosion of the middle class and the rise in income inequality.” The bill intends to codify the ABC test in the hopes of restoring protections to millions of Americans.

    With AB5 in place, workers must be considered employees unless all three of the following revised conditions are met:
    A: The person is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact.
    B: The person performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.
    C: The person is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.

    Exemptions

    Multiple exemptions are created by AB5. A few include (but are not limited to):

    Various occupations. Examples include licensed insurance agents, certain licensed health care professionals, registered securities broker-dealers or investment advisers, direct sales salespersons, real estate licensees, commercial fishermen, workers providing licensed barber or cosmetology services, and others performing work under a contract for professional services, with another business entity, or pursuant to a subcontract in the construction industry.

    Professional service providers. Examples include travel agents, graphic designers and fine artists. To qualify, these providers must:
    · Maintain a business location.
    · Be able to negotiate their own service rate.
    · Customarily engage in the same type of work performed under contract with another hiring entity.
    · Hold themselves out to other potential customers as available to perform the same type of work.

    Bona fide business-to-business contracting relationships. To qualify, these must meet 12 separate conditions.

    To learn more, read AB5.

    Takeaway For California Employers

    California employers that have workers they currently deem independent contractors should be aware of and compliant with AB5. The law is active, but some groups hope to have it repealed or modified. Follow this blog for ongoing developments.

    Please note that this article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice of any kind. We recommend having your legal counsel review your hiring policies to ensure they are compliant with all applicable laws.

    When you’re bringing on employees, contractors or volunteers, it is important to run comprehensive background checks. The team at Backgrounds Online can help you customize screening packages for any position in your industry. Contact us for expert assistance Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • DC Public School Employees Need Current Background Checks​

    January 14, 2020
    An internal audit revealed that nearly one-third of DC public school employees do not have current background checks on file.
    Backgrounds Online | January 14, 2020


    An internal audit revealed that nearly one-third of DC public school employees do not have current background checks on file.

    Background Screening Policies Investigated

    An internal investigation was conducted to determine if the background screening practices for DC schools were on par with the district’s written policies. Chancellor Lewis Ferebee oversaw this effort. This investigation was prompted by an unsettling accusation about an employee having inappropriate contact with a 13-year-old student.

    Many of the employees at DC schools were hired via a private company called Springboard Education. They were responsible for bringing on workers at eight campuses in the district. Chancellor Ferebee learned that Springboard Education was not consistently running background checks on individuals who were authorized to work at schools. Their services were terminated.

    Almost One-Third Of The Staff Didn’t Have Current Background Checks

    Following his investigation, the Chancellor revealed that a startling number of public school employees had outdated background checks. He wrote a statement that was shared with the DC public schools community. It read: “As a result of our district’s review, we determined that 31 percent of current DCPS staff members have a clearance that has expired.”

    Ferebee clarified that all school employees are required to authorize and pass a background check before being cleared to work on any campus. District policy also stipulates that each employee must go through a follow-up background screening every two years to maintain their security clearance. The district agreed to take immediate action.

    New Background Screenings Ordered

    Every current DC school employee will be required to authorize a new background check before they may return to work for the 2020 school year. Additional steps are being taken to help ensure each employee is scheduled for ongoing screenings.

    Ferebee addressed expectations for the new background screening requirements. He said: “By the first day of school, 100 percent of DC Public Schools (DCPS) afterschool staff and outside providers will have an active clearance. By the end of September, 100 percent of DCPS school staff members will have an active clearance. By the end of October, 100 percent of DCPS central office staff will have an active clearance.”

    The Importance Of Ongoing Screenings

    Most employers are diligent about running background checks before bringing on employees, contractors or volunteers. However, it is equally important for organizations to re-screen everyone who represents them. This is done to ensure each person remains eligible for ongoing employment and that they do not pose any undue risk.

    Ongoing screenings show employers if someone who represents their brand incurs a new criminal record. They can also provide other useful facts such as whether or not a person maintains a required license, has new traffic violations (particularly for individuals who drive on the job) or gets any other new item on their record about which the employer should be aware.

    Employers can schedule follow-up background checks at regular intervals. Many choose to re-screen annually, but it can also be done monthly or at whatever point the organization deems necessary. Recurring background check packages can be fully customized for every position in any industry.

    If you need background checks for potential employees or people who are currently part of your staff, please contact us. We can help you build customized background screening packages that are perfectly tailored to your specific needs. Our team is available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • Employment-Related Credit Checks Could Be Banned​

    January 06, 2020
    A proposed bill intends to disallow employers from running credit reports for most hiring scenarios.
    Backgrounds Online | January 06, 2020


    A proposed bill intends to disallow employers from running credit reports for most hiring scenarios.

    About The Legislation

    U.S. Congress House Bill 3614 (HB3614) is a proposed law that calls for an update to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). It is known as the “Restricting Credit Checks for Employment Decisions Act.” If passed, it will prohibit employers from running credit checks with a few exceptions. Authors of this bill believe there is generally no correlation between a person’s creditworthiness and job performance.

    The Act would update existing law that states: “A person may use a consumer report with respect to any consumer in which any information contained in the report bears on the consumer’s creditworthiness, credit standing, or credit capacity.” HR3614 revises this to stipulate employers may only run credit reports on applicants if:
    · One is required by a federal, state or local law.
    · The information contained in the report is being used for a national security investigation.

    This bill also clarifies that costs involved in procuring a credit report may not be passed on to the consumer. Furthermore, it says that information contained in a report may not be shared with any individual unless doing so is required to "comply with any applicable federal, state, or local equal employment opportunity law or regulation."

    Read the bill.​

    Are Credit Checks Detrimental?

    Representative Maxine Waters supports HR3614. She believes the use of credit checks can cause qualified people to be denied employment because of a financial hardship they endured. Waters commented: "People who have been unemployed for an extended period of time, and whose credit standing has been damaged because they were unable to pay their bills, cannot secure a new job to end their financial distress because prospective employers conduct credit checks as part of an application process."

    Members of the House Committee also suggested credit checks are unfair to ethnicities that are said to commonly have lower credit scores. Waters provided input on this by commenting: "The growing use of credit checks may disproportionately screen otherwise qualified racial and ethnic minorities out of jobs, leading to discriminatory hiring practices."

    Opposition To The Bill

    Groups such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA – formerly the NAPBS) are opposed to HR3614 because they feel it is too broad. Both the President/CEO of SHRM and the Executive Director of the PBSA gave statements which suggested credit history policies should be designed to meet the needs of individual organizations that are hiring for financial positions.

    Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also chimed in on this subject. He said: “This legislation would make it more difficult for employers to review the backgrounds of prospective employees, which would make it more difficult to hire for sensitive positions or would otherwise delay the hiring process.”

    Most employers do not use credit checks. They are typically only run for positions such as Financial Advisors, Sales Executives and people who would have access to company or partner funds. Before running a credit check, an employer must be vetted to determine that they are qualified and have a permissible purpose.

    What Employers Should Know

    Currently, several states have restrictions on the use of credit reports for employment. If HR3614 is signed into law, employers should be aware that nationwide restrictions will go into effect. Backgrounds Online will keep up with the status of this bill and provide updates as they occur.

    You may not need to check an applicant’s credit history, but when bringing on employees, contractors or volunteers it is essential to run comprehensive background checks. The team at Backgrounds Online can help you build custom screening packages for any position. Contact us for expert assistance Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • No Rehire Clauses Prohibited In CA Settlements

    December 31, 2019
    California passed a bill that prohibits employers from including no rehire clauses in settlements for discrimination or harassment suits.
    Backgrounds Online | December 31, 2019


    California passed a bill that prohibits employers from including no rehire clauses in settlements for discrimination or harassment suits.

    No Rehire Clauses Were Once Common

    When an employee files a work-related discrimination or harassment lawsuit, the case is sometimes settled out of court. Currently, settlements are likely to include a no rehire provision. This means the lawsuit is closed via a mutual agreement and the aggrieved person signs a document that says they are not eligible for any future position within the company.

    One issue with this practice is that large corporations own numerous businesses. Therefore, a person who signs a no rehire clause will be disallowed from working at any location owned by the parent company. This can be very limiting to the person who was allegedly victimized in the workplace.

    California Assembly Bill 749

    Governor Gavin Newsom signed California Assembly Bill 749 (AB749) to prohibit employers from adding no rehire clauses to harassment and discrimination settlements. This law does not apply to employees who were abusive. It is intended to protect workers who were harassed or discriminated against while on the job.

    Assemblyman Mark Stone spoke in favor of the bill. He said: “The no-rehire clause punishes the victims of discrimination or sexual harassment from continuing employment while the offender remains in the job. Eliminating this provision will have a meaningful impact for victims.”

    AB749 states the following: An agreement to settle an employment dispute shall not contain a provision prohibiting, preventing, or otherwise restricting a settling party that is an aggrieved person from obtaining future employment with the employer against which the aggrieved person has filed a claim, or any parent company, subsidiary, division, affiliate, or contractor of the employer.
    It does not:
    · Prohibit employers from ending an existing “employment relationship.”
    · Require an employer to rehire a person if there is a valid “non-discriminatory or non-retaliatory reason for terminating the employment relationship.”

    This bill goes into effect on January 1, 2020. Read the full text.

    What Employers Should Know

    Employers in California should be aware of AB749 and prepared for compliance as of 2020. If an employer attempts to add a no rehire clause to a settlement for any harassment or discrimination suit after the bill is active, they will be in violation and could be subjected to legal repercussions.

    We often recommend that every organization create and maintain written hiring and background screening policies. California employers may wish to read AB749 and amend their policies to be compliant when this bill goes into effect. Have your legal counsel review your policies before they are finalized and shared with people who are involved in the hiring process.

    When Hiring Or Rehiring

    Anytime you bring on employees, contractors or volunteers – whether hiring them for the first time or rehiring an individual – it is essential to run background checks. These reports can show you if a person has a serious criminal record, empower you to see if they have the employment and education history they need to succeed and supply facts that help you make informed decisions while creating a safe workplace.

    When you need background checks for employment purposes, please contact us. Our experienced team can help you create customized screening packages for any type of position. We are available Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm to assist you.

  • Happy Holidays! Are You Prepared To Comply With New Laws?

    December 24, 2019
    Enjoy the holiday season and prepare for a successful 2020.
    Backgrounds Online | December 24, 2019


    Enjoy the holiday season and prepare for a successful 2020.

    Holiday Hours

    The entire team at Backgrounds Online wishes you a joyous holiday season.

    Our offices will be closed Tuesday, December 24 and Wednesday, December 25 so we can spend time with family and friends. We will be here to assist you with all your background screening needs on Thursday, December 26. Please note that we are closing at noon on Friday, December 27 so our team can celebrate the season together.

    We will also be closed on Wednesday, January 1 but here and available to assist you during regular office hours on January 2 and 3.

    New Year, New Laws. Are You Prepared?

    Every year comes with new state laws that affect employers. If you haven’t done it yet, this week is a good time to document how you will comply with upcoming laws that will be in effect where you operate. Backgrounds Online recommends maintaining written hiring and background screening policies and reviewing them at least annually. Have your legal counsel sign off on these policies before they are distributed to everyone on your staff who is involved in the hiring process.

    To help you remain aware of employment-related laws, Backgrounds Online provides several educational resources. Follow this blog, subscribe to our Newsletter and visit our State Laws section regularly to learn about new/pending laws and background screening best practices. As your partner in background screening, we remain committed to providing educational materials that supplement your compliance efforts.

    Efficient, Compliant Background Checks In 2020

    Will your organization be bringing on new employees, contractors or volunteers in 2020? If so, then it is essential to conduct due diligence and run comprehensive background checks before allowing anyone to represent your brand. These reports provide useful information that helps you make informed decisions, create safe workplaces and build strong teams.

    Backgrounds Online empowers you to customize background check packages that are perfectly tailored for any position and industry. We also offer tools that allow you to use our services online, via API, through the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) of your choice or however you prefer. As a service-first company, we are always happy to answer your questions, help solve your most complex background screening challenges and provide sample forms and documents that bolster your compliance efforts.

    When you’re ready to start screening, please contact us. Outside of our holiday hours, we are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT. Thank you for visiting backgroundsonline.com.