Contents
 
Feature article 

 
Compliance Information
 
 
CS News
 
 
Background Screening
 
 
Industry News
 
 
CS News
 
 
CS News
 
 
VerifyStudents Corner

VerifyStudents News
 
 
VerifyStudents News

Feature Article
 

For several years, we’ve predicted and reported on the trend of increasing litigation related to background screening. This year a new wave of class action lawsuits alleging violations of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) have emerged. These lawsuits are based on background check procedures commonly used by many employers, and they haven’t affected just one business sector, but instead have affected all industries, including retail, manufacturing, transportation, restaurants and others.

 

The proliferation of FCRA lawsuits and settlements this year has been unprecedented. According to The Littler Report, as of August 2014, no fewer than 27 FCRA class action cases had been filed. And in late July, three cases were filed by the same law firm on the same day, all alleging FCRA violations. The most common claims are that the disclosure contains “extraneous” information (is not a stand-alone document), and adverse action procedures are not being followed properly.

 

The Littler Report indicates there are four main reasons why FCRA class action filings have increased so rapidly:

  • A number of high profile cases that have settled for millions of dollars,

  • Litigators (law firms) are noticing this and are entering the arena,   

  • Favorable outcomes (pro-plaintiffs) in some federal courts, and

  • The allure of “statutory damages awards to the plaintiff’s bar when the U.S. Supreme Court has demonstrated a healthy measure of hostility towards class actions.”

Employers should be concerned about the rise of FCRA class action lawsuits because they have the potential to be extremely costly. They can involve thousands of people, and can result in fines per violation, as well as attorney fees, punitive damages and actual damages. And just paying the costs alone to defend a claim can be expensive.

 

It doesn’t appear that these types of lawsuits are going away any time soon, and employers can take measures to mitigate the risk of a class action lawsuit. As a reminder, review your background check policies and forms to make sure they are FCRA-compliant, as well as compliant with other applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Corporate Screening offers additional guidelines in the article Your Background Authorization/Disclosure Form.

 
Welcome New Clients
 
Corporate Screening would like to greet all of our new customers who have recently come onboard! We’d like to extend a warm welcome to:
  

HarperRand

  


Knox Community Hospital

  


Southwest Virginia Community College Paramedic Program

  


Kennesaw State University

  


Edrinton Americas

  


Lakeland Community College HR

  


Hudec Dental

  


UNC Greensboro

 

 

The Learning Oasis

  


Constellium

  


McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital

  


Muir Orthopaedic Specialists

 

Compliance Information:
In light of the rash of class action lawsuits that have been filed in recent months, Corporate Screening recommends you review your background disclosure and authorization form, making sure it is properly worded and is a stand-alone disclosure. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
 
Disclosure. The FCRA requires that prior to obtaining a consumer report on an applicant for employment an employer provide a clear and conspicuous disclosure and obtain the applicant's written authorization. Furthermore, (and this is a detail the attorneys are latching onto) the FCRA requires the disclosure consist solely of the disclosure. (FCRA section 604(b)(2)).
 

Employers are responsible for the disclosure and authorization form. The FCRA places responsibility for the disclosure and authorization form on the employer.  In some instances, background screening companies may handle such for an employer, but the ultimate responsibility for the form lies with the user procuring the report or causing the report to be procured.

 

Notification. Tell the applicant or employee you might use the information for decisions about his or her employment. Bear in mind that:

  1. This notice must be in writing and in a stand-alone format, and

  2. The notice can’t be in an employment application.

You can include some minor additional information in the notice (like a brief description of the nature of consumer reports), but only if it doesn’t confuse or detract from the notice.

 

 
Recent Client Alerts
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CS News

 

Corporate Screening is pleased to announce the upcoming rollout of our new adverse action workflow tool. With the recent spate of FCRA class action lawsuits, this timely tool will help you effectively manage your pre-adverse and adverse action process.

 

With two options to choose from – self-service or full- service – you have the flexibility to select the method that best suits your needs. Stay tuned for more information coming soon!

 

 
Background Screening Information
 
For many employers, background checks are an important element of the hiring process, and they rely on the information provided in them when making their final decision to bring on a new employee. Time is of the essence during this process, and although most background checks are completed in just a few days, some take longer than others. So what are some of the main reasons for background check delays?
 
Incomplete Information

Probably the most common reason for a delay is an incomplete or inaccurate application, or forms (such as authorization releases) are missing signatures. In these cases the background investigator must contact the client to obtain the correct data or a signature, which can result in a delay.

 

The Name Factor

A person’s name may also have an effect on the speed of a background check. When investigating someone with a common name, a lot of results are usually generated. Investigators use unique identifiers such as birth date, address history and other information to eliminate the unrelated results, but this additional review of records takes time.  

 

An additional name issue is that of name variations and changes. Someone named William may also be called Will or Bill (or other variants) and name changes due to marriage and/or divorce are common. Investigators need to research all of the name possibilities. This may mean extra time is needed to research and review the resulting information for accuracy.

 

Delays in Obtaining Information

Sometimes background checks are hindered due to holdups in obtaining information. Things happen, such as computer systems going down or courts are short-staffed, resulting in delays in criminal searches.

  

Education and employment verifications are often quick, but they can take time. Sometimes information sources may respond slowly (or not at all) to requests for information. They may also require that requests be made by mail, fax or in another specific way. And some companies and schools close for extended periods of time around the holidays or other times of the year. All of these factors may take time and can hold up the background search.

 

The end result is that at times, some background checks take longer than others. While some causes for delay are out of our hands, others occur in order to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the report.


 
Industry News
Background Screening in the News is a section devoted to newsworthy events related to background screening. We’ll briefly summarize a few of the news-worthy topics in the industry so that you know what’s trending in the background screening world.
 

New Background Procedure for People Entering Military Facilities

After the shooting spree earlier this year at Fort Hood, the Defense Department put a new background check policy in place for members of the defense community entering military installations. DefenseOne reported that beginning in August, a new tool called the Identity Matching Engine for Security and Analysis (IMESA) instantly screens people entering military installations against the FBI’s criminal database. If the system “shows an arrest, felony or outstanding warrant” the person is pulled aside and law enforcement will review the situation and proceed from there.

 

Currently the system only searches FBI records, but there are plans to include state and local law enforcement records in the future.


Ban the Box Legislation Continues to Expand

Since our last newsletter was published, more states and municipalities have passed and enacted “ban the box” legislation. Here is a brief rundown of what legislation transpired over the summer: 

  • Washington D.C. passed a restrictive “ban the box” law, which affects private and public employers with at least 10 employees in the District of Columbia. The date for the law to go into effect has not yet been announced, but it is expected to be effective by the end of 2014.

  • California’s state-wide public sector law went into effect on July 1, 2014.

  • San Francisco’s law became effective on August 13, 2014.

  •  On November 18, 2014, Rochester, New York will enact its “ban the box” legislation.

  • Illinois’ “Best Candidate for the Job Act” applies to private employers, and will go into effect on January 1, 2015.

  • New Jersey passed a bill that affects private and public employers with 15 or more employees. It will become effective March 1, 2015.

For more details about these, we invite you to visit our blog and our client alerts. 

 

 
CS News

 

Corporate Screening is pleased to share that Greg McBride, one of our sales and account representatives, has recently been named as a board member of the Northern Ohio Human Resources Conference (NOHRC). In this role, Greg will help plan and build next year’s event, and he is the only background vendor representative on the committee.

 

NOHRC is a one-day conference that takes place in Greater Cleveland each March and focuses on providing education and development on current HR trends.  It attracts over 1000 attendees who work in the field of human resources. In addition to its educational component, NOHRC offers HR professionals the opportunity to network with peers and interact with vendors.

 

Corporate Screening is proud to support NOHRC and has been an exhibitor at the event for eight years.
 
 
CS News

Recently, Corporate Screening has implemented a number of changes, from enhancing our business processes to upgrading our technology infrastructure and building renovations. These changes have helped to improve efficiency, streamline processes, and enriched the work environment. Read on to learn about some of our recent improvements.

 

Our Center of Service operations improvement plan went into effect a few years ago. This service model was developed so that Corporate Screening could better deliver a high quality product, while training and retaining high caliber employees. What resulted was a reorganization of roles and responsibilities, resulting in more efficient, faster service. We are able to better measure what we do, and make adjustments based on these measurements that result in improved service and efficacy. In this fashion, we continue to search for areas that need improvement and develop processes to make these better.

 

Technology is at the root of what we do, and our newest enhancements in this area have served both the company and our clients well. With new servers and upgraded power back up systems, Corporate Screening has made an investment in reliability and efficiency.  This means less chance of disruptions as well as improved productivity.

 

Our operations center also received a facelift, with renovations to work spaces and throughout the building. We invite you to check out a short video that shows the operations center renovation that took place this summer. Visit the new media page at www.corporatescreening.com/resources/media to access the video.


 

 
           
VerifyStudents Corner
 
VerifyStudents News

 

Creating new accounts online is a commonplace occurrence for most people, one that many don’t think twice about. You enter your information and move on with what you need to do. So what happens when you need to come back to the site and you’ve forgotten your password? The answer to that varies by company, but when it happens to a student logging back in to their VerifyStudents account, they are asked to verify their identity by answering their security question.

 

Students select their security questions when they create their VerifyStudents account. Later, when they come back, if they have forgotten their password they are asked to provide the correct answer to a security question in order to reset their password.

 

Keeping each student’s account secure is of utmost importance. Some of the information contained in a background report may be of a sensitive nature, and it’s important that not just anyone be able to access it. This is why Corporate Screening password protects all of our VerifyStudents accounts and requires students to provide answers to security questions.

 

Corporate Screening has found that a number of students have trouble later when they come back to check the information on their student background report. Here are some suggestions for students to follow when they select and answer their security questions:

  • Pick a question that has a definite answer that you will remember. Don’t just select a random question and put in a random answer in order to get started quickly. Most people won’t remember those types of answers when they come back to their account.

  • Check the spelling. If you need to answer the question, the answers must be spelled the same way.


 
VerifyStudents News
 

Some Allied Health programs require that students get background checks more than once during the time they are completing their degrees. Students returning to VerifyStudents for additional background screening requirements sometimes have questions about this process, so Corporate Screening would like to offer the following tips that schools can share with returning students.

 

Returning students do not need to create a new account. They simply access their previous account by clicking on the “Login/Report Retrieval” box at the top right of the VerifyStudents home page.

 

How to log in. Students should log in with the email address they used with their previous background. If they forgot their password, they just need to answer a security question to change their password and access their account.

 

Ordering a new report. Click on “Order New Report Here” in the left column to begin the process, then enter the code provided by the school.

 

As a caution, when returning students first log back in to their account, they may see a message that says their report is complete, even though they have not yet ordered the new report. This message refers to their previous report. Students should begin the process of ordering their new report as directed above.

 

And as always, Corporate Screening’s Client Services team is available if students have any questions.