Changes to New York criminal records searches

NY United Court System

When we conduct County Level Criminal Records Searches, in New York, our only option (as dictated by the court system) is to search through the New York Office of Court Administration (NY-OCA). While this is in effect a statewide search, it is the highest court fee ($65.00) in the country. Now they are limiting the information available.

 

NY-OCA will no longer provide a criminal history for any individual whose only conviction was a single misdemeanor charge more than ten years prior to the date of the search request. If we place a search request in NY, and there is NO record or ONE misdemeanor charge, more than ten years old, they will return to us a NO record/Clear result, which we will pass along to you.

 

 

New Laws for Nevada

 

New Laws

 

Nevada legislation, effective October 1, 2013 establishes an unlawful employment practice for employers to use or request credit information for employment-related decisions. With certain exceptions, the Act makes it unlawful for an employer to:

• Require, request, suggest or cause a prospective new employee to submit a consumer credit report or other credit information as a condition of employment;

• Make inquiries about a consumer credit report or other credit information;

•Deny employment  to an applicant who refuses, fails or declines to submit a consumer credit report or other credit information or on the basis of such a report or information.

The second part of the legislation relates to social media. It defines “social media account” as any electronic service or account or electronic content, including, without limitation, videos, photographs, blogs, video blogs, services, online services or Internet website profiles. Eight states – Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington – have enacted such legislation in 2013.

 

Clients with questions on these or other changes in law should feel free to contact us at 855-866-SAFE Ext520 or email us at support@safe-screen.com.

 

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EEOC Files Suit against Two Employers for Alleged Improper Use of Criminal Background Checks

EEOCThe U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a press release  on 06/11/2013 outlining their suit filed in U.S. District Court of South Carolina against BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC and a separate suit filed in Chicago against Dolgencorp, doing business as Dollar General.  The EEOC alleges both employers violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act through their policy on criminal background checks and that resulted in employees being terminated and others screened out of employment.

The UTi (BMW Vendor) employees worked at the BMW facilities until the contract with UTi ended.  When these employees started, they were screened for criminal records during the previous 7 years. The new contractor accepted applications from all the current UTi employees and screened all of them according to the BMW policy, which has no time limit for convictions, resulting in some employees not being hired, even though they worked at the BMW facility for years.

In the Dollar General case, the EEOC filed a nationwide lawsuit based on discrimination charges filed by two rejected African-American applicants.  One had disclosed a six year old conviction for possession of a controlled substance.  Even though she had worked for four years in a similar position with another employer her employment was denied. The second claimant alleged that the background check revealed a previous felony conviction, even though she did not have any convictions.  Even though she advised the store manager of the apparent mistake, she was barred from employment.

We can expect more of these suites in the future.  The EEOC made their position clear when they issued guidelines in April 2012.  In short, the EEOC’s stance is that minorities have a higher criminal conviction rate than they account for in the general population, so therefore employers that screen for criminal convictions can be discriminating against minorities, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Generally, a blanket policy of “conviction = no job” will violate these EEOC guidelines and they may take actions against employers with these policies.

Criminal records can be considered for employment decisions.  However, criminal records must be reviewed on an individual basis and an adverse action must be based upon if the record is job related and consistent with a business necessity.  Several factors such as when the criminal act took place, the amount of time that has elapsed, the nature of the criminal act compared to the nature of the job, essential functions of the job, amount of supervision, etc.  If an employer uses information contained in a background screening report (a consumer report) they have to give the employee a Pre-Adverse Action Letter, let them explain any mitigating circumstances or state that the record is inaccurate, then if/when a final decision is made not to hire, issue an Adverse Action Letter.  If an applicant claims there is a mistake, the Pre-Adverse Action Letter tells them how to contact Safe-Screen and we will re-investigate.

Clients who need assistance with how to use criminal records and still remain in compliance with the EEOC and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) guidelines should contact us.

We understand that navigating the regulatory environment regarding backgrounds can be complicated, and that’s what we’re here for Keeping You Safe™. 855-866-SAFE – http://Safe-Screen.com

Copyright © 2013 Cage & Associates, Ltd./Safe-Screen. All Rights Reserved.

Nothing in this communication is intended to be legal advice. Information contained in this communication may not take in to consideration your specific needs or location. Consultation with qualified legal counsel is recommended for all matters of employment law.

“Safe-Screen, Keeping you Safe” and the Safe-Screen shield are registered service marks of Cage & Associates, Ltd. NV Lic 901/901A

Nevada joins nine other states that Prohibit Use of Credit Reports by Employers.

Credit Report

 

 

 

Nevada Senate Bill 127 (SB127) has been passed by the Nevada Legislature, signed by the Governor and will go into effect October 1, 2013.  The history of the bill and complete text can be found on the Nevada Legislature site at

http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/77th2013/Reports/history.cfm?billname=SB127

Nevada joins California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington in limiting employers from using consumer credit reports for employment purposes which include hiring, firing, disciplining, denying employment or promotion.

SB127 amends Nevada Revised Statues (NRS) Chapter 613 which involves Employment Practices.

Section 7 of this bill prohibits an employer from conditioning the employment of an employee or prospective employee on his or her consumer credit report or other credit information.  Section 7 also prohibits an employer from taking certain employment actions based on the refusal of an employee or prospective employee to submit a credit report or other credit information or on the results of such a report or information. Section 7 further prohibits an employer from taking certain employment actions where an employee or prospective employee files a complaint, testifies in any legal proceeding or exercises his or her rights with respect to any violation committed by the employer.

Section 7.5 of this bill provides certain exceptions to the preceding prohibitions, including, without limitation, an exception for circumstances in which the information contained in the consumer credit report or other credit information is reasonably related to the position of employment.

Section 8 of this bill establishes the civil remedies available to a person affected by a violation committed by an employer, including employment of a prospective employee, reinstatement or promotion of an employee, payment of lost wages and benefits and the award of reasonable costs and attorney’s fees. Section 9 of this bill authorizes the Labor Commissioner to impose an administrative penalty against an employer for each violation and to bring a civil action against the employer.

SB127 contains exemptions for specific situations.  An employer may request or consider a consumer credit report if:

1. The employer is required or authorized, pursuant to state or federal law, to use a consumer credit report or other credit information for that purpose;

2. The employer reasonably believes that the employee or prospective employee has engaged in specific activity which may constitute a violation of state or federal law; or

3. The information contained in the consumer credit report or other credit information is reasonably related to the position for which the employee or prospective employee is being evaluated for employment, promotion, reassignment or retention as an employee. The information in the consumer credit report or other credit information shall be deemed reasonably related to such an evaluation if the duties of the position involve:

(a) The care, custody and handling of, or responsibility for, money, financial accounts, corporate credit or debit cards, or other assets;

(b) Access to trade secrets or other proprietary or confidential information;

(c) Managerial or supervisory responsibility;

(d) The direct exercise of law enforcement authority as an employee of a state or local law enforcement agency;

(e) The care, custody and handling of, or responsibility for, the personal information of another person;

(f) Access to the personal financial information of another person;

(g) Employment with a financial institution that is chartered under state or federal law, including a subsidiary or affiliate of such a financial institution; or

(h) Employment with a licensed gaming establishment, as defined in NRS 463.0169.

The bill allows for the Nevada Labor Commissioner to impose an administrative penalty of not more than $9,000 for each violation of SB127.

While there are exemptions, Nevada employers should not forget another section of Nevada law.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows for a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA – Such as us, Safe-Screen) to report a criminal conviction no matter how long ago it occurred, NRS 598C.150 requires a CRA to purge and not report criminal convictions, civil judgments and other adverse information which precedes the report by more than 7 years.  Generally, when a consumer credit report in not included with the background investigation, there is no state 7 year restriction.

We understand that navigating the regulatory environment regarding backgrounds can be complicated, and that’s what we’re here for Keeping You Safe™. 855-866-SAFE – http://Safe-Screen.com

Copyright © 2012 Cage & Associates, Ltd./Safe-Screen. All Rights Reserved.

Nothing in this communication is intended to be legal advice. Information contained in this communication may not take in to consideration your specific needs or location. Consultation with qualified legal counsel is recommended for all matters of employment law.

“Safe-Screen, Keeping you Safe” and the Safe-Screen shield are registered service marks of Cage & Associates, Ltd. NV Lic 901/901A

Warning Letters Issued by Federal Trade Commission

FTCEvery so often I get asked about the need for the documents and certifications completed when signing up a new customer.  After all, can’t you simply search Google for background checks and find an online firm where you enter the applicant’s information, your credit card data, and behold! You have a background screening report?

These instant, online data companies are most often breaking federal – and potentially state — laws.  So yes, you can use them; however, with an illegal background check, you risk additional liability to lawsuits and claims for conducting the background check incorrectly. Additionally, should something occur down the road with your employee and the allegation of negligent hiring is made, how do you protect yourself with a report that was done illegally?

Just a few days ago, the Federal Trade Commission issued a press release outlining how staff contacted a variety of firms offering various consumer reports, including reports for employment purposes.  Of the 45 contacted, approximately 10 appear to have violated the law.

Out of the ten firms receiving those letters, six appeared to offer consumer information for employment purposes: Crimcheck.com, 4Nannies, U.S. Information Search, People Search Now, Case Breakers, and USA People Search.

The letters are not an official notice by the FTC that any of the named companies are subject to the requirements of the FCRA, nor do the letters lay out any formal complaints against the companies. Instead, they serve to remind the companies to evaluate their practices to determine whether they are consumer reporting agencies, and if so, how to comply with that law.

The FTC press release and links to the letters issued can be seen here:

http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2013/05/databroker.shtm

We understand that navigating the regulatory environment regarding backgrounds can be complicated, and that’s what we’re here for…Keeping You Safe™.

 

Las Vegas Area – Volunteer bible study leader arrested for assualt of children

James David

James David

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (NV) and the Henderson Police Department (NV) have booked a volunteer bible study leader on charges of assaults on children.  As the suspect volunteered with multiple church groups, they are seeking the publics assistance in identifying other potential victims.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the LVMPD Sexual Assault Section at 702-828-3421 or the Henderson Police Department at 702-267-4750.  Anyone with any information about these cases may contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 702-385-5555 or on the internet at www.crimestoppersofnv.com.

New Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) forms

Just a reminder, as of January 1, 2013 there are some new forms that must be used in the employment screening process.  The forms are basically what have been used in the past, however the new enforcement agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is now referenced in place of the former enforcement agency, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

One form, Notice to Users of Consumer Reports: Obligations of Users Under the FCRA, is designed to inform users (employers and others) of consumer reports (background screening reports) of their federal legal obligations.

The other, Summary of Rights Under the FCRA, has to be given to all applicants.

Customer support sent .pdf versions of these forms to all Safe-Screen users.  If you need a copy, follow the links above.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month – 2012

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

 

 

 

We lead Web-based, digital lives. From personal computers, smartphones, and tablets, e-book readers, to working, shopping, and social networking, virtually every aspect of our lives touches the digital world. Even when we are not directly connected to the Internet, this vast worldwide connection of computers, data, and websites supports our everyday lives through financial transactions, transportation systems, healthcare records, emergency response systems, personal communications, and more.

This reliance increases as digital technology advances and high speed Internet access becomes more widespread. Yet, if we are to maximize the convenience, speed, and future potential of a digital society, we must protect the resource that makes it possible.

The Internet is a shared resource and securing it is Our Shared Responsibility, the theme for 2012 National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

No individual, business, or government entity is solely responsible for securing the Internet. Everyone has a role in securing their part of cyberspace, including the devices and networks they use. Individual actions have a collective impact and when we use the Internet safely we make it more secure for everyone. If each of us does our part—implementing stronger security practices, raising community awareness, educating young people, training employees—together we will be a more resilient and safer digital society.

STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

Cybersecurity begins with STOP. THINK. CONNECT. These three simple are the starting point for staying safer and more secure online.

  • STOP:    Before you use the Internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems.
  • THINK:  Take a moment to be certain the path ahead is clear. Watch for warning signs and consider how your online actions could impact your safety or your family’s.
  • CONNECT:  Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you’ve taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your computer.

Safe-Screen is proud to be a champion of National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

For tips and resources, go to http://staysafeonline.org

 

“I can just do an internet search for my employee screening.”

Spokeo to Pay $800,000 to Settle FTC Charges Company Allegedly Marketed Information to Employers and Recruiters in Violation of FCRA

http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/06/spokeo.shtm

 

Free or cheap online internet searches used in place of proper, lawful employment screening do nothing to reduce the risk of a bad hire, and actually exposes the employer to greater liability.  A quick search with any internet search engine results in many “$19.95” instant background check offers.  However, if you delve into the small print, every one of these that I have looked into state you cannot use the information they provide for employment purposes.  I wonder why?

 The short answer is because the search is not Fair Credit and Reporting Act (FCRA) compliant.  As an employer, you screen your employees in order to limit your liability for negligent hiring and to offer a safe work environment for your other employees and customers.  If you conduct your screening through a company that does not meet the requirements to be a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA), does not follow the FCRA, does not follow other federal laws such as the FACT Act, DPPA, GLB Act and others, does not follow various state laws concerning what can be checked or reported or is not licensed to perform this work, where does that leave you?

 Safe-Screen is a CRA that follows the FCRA (and other various laws and regulations) and is licensed as a private investigative agency.  Contact us and let us show you why we’re the best at Keeping You Safe.

 

Airport security supervisor discovered to be illegal alien using ID of dead man for 20 years.

A security supervisor at Liberty International Airport, Newark NJ was arrested after authorities discovered he had been using the identity of a man who was killed 20 years ago.

Bimbo Olumuyiwa Oyewole, a Nigerian national who was known to his co-workers as Jerry Thomas was arrested at his home Monday.

Authorities say Oyewole entered the United States illegally in 1989 and has used the Jerry Thomas name since 1992, the year the real Thomas was killed in New York City.  There is no word if he is a suspect in the unsolved murder case.

There have been numerous cases of people found out after years of using false identification, to include a Las Vegas casino employee who also passed a state background investigation.  I am often asked, how can this happen?  It is fairly easy to obtain identifying information and to use that to obtain a driver’s license or state ID card.  That identification is then shown to apply for a position and fill out the background information.  A criminal records check would then check for any record of the assumed identity, and if that person had no criminal record, it comes back clean.

So, what would prevent this?  One of our products, the Consent Based Social Security Number Verification (CBSV) matches applicant supplied data directly with the records of the Social Security Administration.  Usually with an identity take over, some part of the data is missing and what the applicant supplies will not match.  If it does, these cases show the importance of the concept of “Infinity Screening” or conducting screening of current employees.  Screening an applicant/new employee and then not checking anything for 20 years can have disastrous results.  A CBSV check on the above individual may or may not have caught him when he first applied (I don’t know how long after the ID theft/murder victim died, that the suspect applied), but it would have caught him within months after his death.  The Las Vegas casino employee used the identity of a live victim, living in AZ and would have been caught because his information would not have matched with the actual person in AZ. 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/05/14/longtime-security-supervisor-arrested-at-nj-airport-for-using-dead-man-id/#ixzz1v5AY2DNp

        
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