Total Articles: 80
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • January 04, 2016
In the last two years, the number of employment class actions under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) has ballooned. Most of the cases reported in the media have involved challenges to an employer’s compliance with the FCRA’s disclosure and authorization requirements.
XpertHR • December 17, 2015
More than 90 percent of employers use background checks to screen job applicants at some point in the hiring process. But a new trend is placing limits on when many employers can seek criminal history information.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • December 08, 2015
Last month, President Obama announced a new mandate to the federal government's human resources department to "delay inquiries into criminal history until later in the hiring process."
XpertHR • November 06, 2015
President Obama has ordered all federal government agencies to stop asking prospective employees on job applications if they have a criminal record. Obama's "ban the box" announcement involves the box on initial applications that candidates are often asked to check off if they have ever been convicted of a crime.
Ogletree Deakins • November 04, 2015
On September 8, 2015, BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) entered into a consent decree ending the EEOC’s disparate impact lawsuit over BMW’s use of criminal background checks in employment. The consent decree requires BMW to pay $1.6 million and provide job opportunities to claimant and other applicants who were turned away under BMW’s prior background check policy.
Goldberg Segalla LLP • November 04, 2015
On Monday, November 2, 2015, President Obama announced the federal government is joining the long list of large employers, 19 states, and more than 100 cities and municipalities that currently “ban the box” on employment applications. The President outlined several ideas to improve the reintegration of the formerly incarcerated into society. He noted that “millions of Americans have difficulty even getting their foot in the door to try to get a job; much less actually hang onto that job ... so, we’ve got to make sure Americans who paid their debt to society can earn their second chance.” To that end, he announced, “I’m taking action to ban the box for the most competitive jobs at federal agencies.” The “box” refers to the place on job applications where applicants are asked to indicate whether they have been convicted of a crime. Research confirms that a criminal record reduces the likelihood of a job call back or offer by nearly 50 percent.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • September 28, 2015
After several high-profile setbacks in disparate impact discrimination lawsuits challenging criminal record screening policies,1 the EEOC has entered into a settlement (consent decree) in one of its few remaining cases, a settlement that includes payouts to individual employees in an amount up to $1,600,000. Beyond this not insubstantial settlement amount, the consent decree also reflects the EEOC’s view of a model criminal record screening policy, and is useful in that respect.2 While the EEOC has been trumpeting the settlement on its Web site, the EEOC’s bluster may have been tempered by a further and strongly worded opinion in the Freeman case in Maryland, one of the EEOC’s spectacularly unsuccessful disparate impact lawsuits challenging criminal record screening policies (affirmed by the Fourth Circuit).3 The opinion awards Freeman just under $1,000,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs from the EEOC.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • September 23, 2015
After several high-profile setbacks in disparate impact discrimination lawsuits challenging criminal record screening policies,1 the EEOC has entered into a settlement (consent decree) in one of its few remaining cases, a settlement that includes payouts to individual employees in an amount up to $1,600,000.
XpertHR • September 09, 2015
Restrictions can vary wildly when conducting background checks in different countries. Erika Collins, co-chair of the international labor and employment group at Proskauer Rose, covers all the angles for multinational employers on this podcast.
Littler Mendelson, P.C. • July 14, 2015
In 1998 Hawaii became the first state to pass a so-called "ban-the-box" law, prohibiting both private- and public-sector employers from inquiring about an applicant's conviction history until after the employer makes a conditional offer of employment.
Ogletree Deakins • May 06, 2015
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was enacted to insure that consumer reporting agencies act with “fairness, impartiality, and respect for the consumer’s right to privacy.” But one federal court held recently that LinkedIn’s search technology does not make that site a “consumer reporting agency” for purposes of FCRA. As a result, a federal court magistrate judge recently dismissed the claims of a group of individuals who alleged that they were not hired because a potential employer used LinkedIn’s “Reference Search” feature to obtain background information on them. Sweet v. LinkedIn Corporation, NDCA, No. 5:14-cv-04531(April 14, 2015).
The Supreme Court has agreed to decide if an internet people-search company, Spokeo, can be sued for displaying false information about a Virginia man to potential employers. The Court will hear Spokeo v. Robins in its next term, which begins in October 2015.
Ogletree Deakins • April 27, 2015
In a thoroughly reasoned and illustrative opinion, one federal court magistrate judge recently dismissed the claims of a group of individuals who alleged they were not hired because a potential employer used LinkedIn’s “Reference Search” feature to obtain background information. Sweet v. LinkedIn Corporation, NDCA, No. 5:14-cv-04531, April 14, 2015.
Vedder Price • April 10, 2015
Since December 2014, retail giant Michaels Stores, Inc. (Michaels) has been hit with two class action lawsuits regarding its background-check process. The lawsuits allege that Michaels violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by having job applicants click an "I Agree" box consenting to the terms and conditions of an online job application, which include an authorization to obtain a consumer report on the applicant.
Goldberg Segalla LLP • March 03, 2015
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently upheld a district court’s grant of summary judgment dismissing a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) legal action contending that a company’s policy of using criminal background and credit history checks in its hiring process disproportionately excluded African American applicants
Ogletree Deakins • November 24, 2014
During the upcoming holiday season, many companies—especially those with retail operations—will be looking to expand their available workforce by hiring seasonal workers. Unfortunately, many of these temporary workers will be hired without much scrutiny. Although this approach is understandable given the frenzied pace of the holiday season, it is a risky proposition. Seasonal employees often have more direct customer contact and less supervision than regular employees have during the rest of the year. The wrong hire with a problematic background can create major liability. In short, short-term seasonal employees can have long-term implications. For this reason, many forward-thinking retailers have begun implementing a more robust background check process for seasonal hires.
Jones Walker • October 29, 2014
Unfortunately, many employers conduct background checks on applicants and employees without crossing the Ts and dotting the Is. Recent lawsuits and settlements totaling millions of dollars highlight the risk for employers who ignore the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). It is mystifying how some employers seemingly are not aware of these 18?year?old requirements.
Ogletree Deakins • October 14, 2014
Most employers understand the importance of compliance with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) as it applies to background checks and applicant records. However, employers also must recognize the interplay of state law restrictions on the use of background checks in the application and employment process.
Franczek Radelet P.C • April 07, 2014
In past Franczek Radelet Alerts and webinars, my colleagues and I have talked at length about the potential pitfalls for employers of background checks and the changes that the advent of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the resulting reorganization at the FTC meant for employers. Yes, I know, this is a wage and hour-focused blog, but before you can tackle wage and hour issues, you have to hire employees! Many employers who do background checks have not given much thought to what (if any) documentation they collect from applicants or employees before running them, so with hiring season upon us for many seasonal industries, now is a good time for a reminder about this “pre wage and hour” issue.
Ogletree Deakins • March 24, 2014
On March 10, 2014, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) jointly released two pamphlets on the use of background checks in the workplace: (a) one directed at employers and (b) the other at applicants and employees. The two documents, Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know and Background Checks: What Job Applicants and Employees Should Know, may be found on the EEOC’s website. Although these documents are the first official federal insight on this topic since the 2012 release of the EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records, with one or two exceptions (discussed below), the documents do not break new ground; rather, they reiterate known “best practices” related to background checks in the employment context.
Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP • March 21, 2014
The EEOC -- can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.
ManpowerGroup • February 25, 2014
Here’s a quick overview of the latest developments, followed by a more detailed discussion:
Shaw Valenza LLP • December 23, 2013
I just read that the U.S. Senate, via Senator Elizabeth Warren, is introducing a bill to ban the use of pre-employment credit checks altogether. The proposed bill is here.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • November 04, 2013
On August 9, 2013, the EEOC suffered its second defeat of the year in litigation involving employer use of criminal and credit background checks for employment screening. A federal district court in Maryland held that the EEOC’s expert analysis was statistically flawed, unreliable, and insufficient to demonstrate disparate impact. EEOC v. Freeman.
Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP • October 10, 2013
The EEOC suffered another defeat this week, being ordered again to pay the fees and costs incurred by an employer after the EEOC’s claims turned out to be without merit. IN EEOC v. Peoplemark, Inc., A split 6th Circuit affirmed an award of approximately $750,000 in fees and costs incurred by a temp agency in defending against one of the EEOC’s criminal-history cases. The EEOC contended that the temp agency’s company-wide policy barring employment to individuals with felony records had a disparate impact on Black candidates.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • October 01, 2013
On August 9, 2013, the EEOC suffered its second defeat of the year in litigation involving employer use of criminal and credit background checks for employment screening. A federal district court in Maryland held that the EEOC’s expert analysis was statistically flawed, unreliable, and insufficient to demonstrate disparate impact. EEOC v. Freeman.
Phelps Dunbar LLP • September 13, 2013
It has been over a year since the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued its revised enforcement guidance on the extent to which employers may rely on an individual’s criminal history in making hiring or other employment selection decisions. See the April 26, 2012 eLABORate. Although employers may continue to struggle to determine how to best comply with the guidance, as demonstrated by a recent U.S. District Court decision, they are also not defenseless to claims that their policies are discriminatory.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • September 05, 2013
Last year, we wrote about the EEOC’s then-new guidance on the use of criminal-background checks in hiring decisions. [“Using Conviction Records As A Screening Tool,” Retail Industry Update, June 2012]. In December 2012, the Commission issued a strategic enforcement plan that included targeting background checks as a barrier to employment of minorities. In June of this year, the Commission trumpeted the filing of lawsuits against Dollar General and BMW North America claiming their use of criminal convictions in hiring violates Title VII.
Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP • July 01, 2013
The recently announced class action filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Dollar General highlights the importance for employers of making sure that they don't act too "automatically" in rejecting applicants or terminating current employees based on criminal convictions.
Shaw Valenza LLP • June 19, 2013
The EEOC is still filing lawsuits against employers who conduct criminal background checks as shown in this June 11 press release. States are limiting criminal background checks too. Based on the government's current hostility, it is important to review your background check policies and procedures frequently in all states in which you do business.
Phelps Dunbar LLP • June 18, 2013
In an opening salvo following its recently revised enforcement guidelines, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has filed suit against two major employers, a national retail chain and an international automobile manufacturer, alleging the companies used criminal background checks to disproportionately exclude African-Americans from their workforces.
Nexsen Pruet • June 18, 2013
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC or Commission) recently filed federal lawsuits against Dollar General and a BMW manufacturing plant in South Carolina based on the EEOC’s revised guidance concerning use of criminal background checks. The Commission’s new guidelines, revised last year, recommend that employers not ask applicants about past criminal convictions and encourage employers to give job applicants an opportunity to explain past criminal misconduct before they are rejected. The EEOC emphasizes that background checks have a discriminatory impact on minorities and can violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – even if the background check policy applies to all applicants regardless of race.
Shaw Valenza LLP • May 31, 2013
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and some state and local governments became concerned with employers’ use of credit checks following the 2008 economic crisis. Many people found themselves out of work, negatively affecting credit scores. Others were unable to pay their mortgages when subprime mortgage rates adjusted, which also lowered their credit ratings.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • March 05, 2013
According to some studies, over 90% of employers conduct criminal-background checks for some job applicants and over 70% of employers conduct background checks on all potential new hires. This includes many hospitality-industry employers. Most decision-makers want information about criminal behavior and other related data before bringing a candidate into the organization.
Phelps Dunbar LLP • February 18, 2013
In a surprising move, on January 29, 2013, the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs ("OFCCP") issued Directive 306, entitled "Complying with Nondiscrimination Provisions: Criminal Record Restrictions and Discrimination Based on Race and National Origin," instructing federal contractors to strongly consider federal anti-discrimination laws before excluding applicants from employment based on the results of criminal background checks. In so doing, the OFCCP adopted the Revised Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on April 25, 2012. Click here for our discussion of the revised guidance.
Nexsen Pruet • February 18, 2013
Effective January 1, 2013, there was a new form that employers must provide prospective or current employees when conducting background checks subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The main change in the form directs employees to contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) or visit its website at www.consumerfinance.gov/learnmore for further information about their consumer protection rights, versus contacting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the agency that has traditionally had responsibility for interpreting the FCRA. The CFPB has not, at this time, imposed additional substantive requirements on employers.
Franczek Radelet P.C • February 11, 2013
Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Congress transferred rule-making authority for the relevant portions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Employers that use third parties to provide background check reports for hiring and other employment purposes must comply with FCRA, as well as any applicable state laws. Among other requirements, the FCRA mandates that employers using third party background checks provide applicants and employees with a notice of their rights under the FCRA in various situations, including: (i) prior to taking an adverse action against an individual based on his or her background check report; and (ii) in connection with the procurement of an investigative consumer report. Employers have historically used the FTC’s sample notice entitled “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act” to help satisfy this requirement.
Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP • February 07, 2013
"Give Me Some Credit!" Maybe that's how the EEOC feels these days, after its high-profile suit against Kaplan Higher Education Corp. was dismissed on January 28, 2013. As readers may remember, the EEOC sued Kaplan in 2010, alleging that its pre-employment credit check policies had a disparate impact upon Black job applicants.
Brody and Associates, LLC • January 09, 2013
As of January 1, 2013, employers must use a new Summary of Fair Credit Reporting Act Rights notice when advising applicants or employees of adverse actions taken because of information obtained from a background check or credit check.
Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP • December 28, 2012
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act was enacted in 1971 to regulate the consumer credit reporting industry. Employers that use and request consumer background checks from consumer reporting agencies are automatically subject to FCRA regulations. Before an employer may seek to procure a consumer credit report, criminal background, or background check from a Credit Reporting Agency, applicants or employees subject to screening must be provided certain information, including information about the scope of the check being performed. Background information may not be obtained without the employer's obtaining written consent from the employee or applicant.
Franczek Radelet P.C • December 21, 2012
The following is an important message for all employers that use credit reporting agencies to perform pre-employment background checks or other related investigations:
Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP • December 07, 2012
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (the “FCRA”), an employer that plans to make an employment decision adverse to a prospective or current employee based at least in part on information contained in a “consumer report” (which includes background checks performed by third parties) must provide that employee or applicant with a notice that includes a summary of consumer rights before taking the contemplated adverse action. Any summary of consumer rights that employers provide to employees or applicants pursuant to the FCRA on or after Jan. 1, 2013 must comply with new federal regulations adopted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the “CFPB”), which now shares jurisdiction over the FCRA with the Federal Trade Commission.
Vedder Price • December 06, 2012
By January 13, 2013, employers who obtain consumer reports (i.e., background reports) from consumer reporting agencies must replace the Summary of Rights form they provide to applicants/employees with a new version of the form.
Nexsen Pruet • November 30, 2012
Effective January 1, 2013, there is a new form that employers must provide prospective or current employees when conducting background checks subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The main change in the form directs employees to contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) or visit its website at www.consumerfinance.gov/learnmore for further information about their consumer protection rights, versus contacting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the agency that has traditionally had responsibility for interpreting the FCRA. The CFPB has not, at this time, imposed additional substantive requirements on employers.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • November 06, 2012
Some of our dealership clients are confused about whether or not it is still permissible to check an applicant's criminal record. The confusion is due in part to the publicity concerning recently passed state and municipal laws which restrict the right of some employers to check an applicant's criminal record, and partially due to the EEOC's recently issued "Enforcement Guidance" on the topic.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • July 06, 2012
As most of our readers have probably heard by now, the EEOC seems to want all employers to discontinue, or at least significantly curtail, their use of criminal-background checks. The EEOC's Guidance outlines the agency's position on criminal-background-check policies, but leaves many important questions unanswered, particularly with respect to schools, which are often required to conduct criminal-background checks. So, what, if anything, should schools be concerned about in light of this bold policy move by the EEOC? To the surprise of some, the answer may actually be no different than what you are already doing.
Shaw Valenza LLP • June 20, 2012
Employers commonly conduct criminal background checks, and may use such information to disqualify candidates for employment. For example, a pharmaceutical company may think twice before hiring someone it discovers has been recently convicted of a drug-related offense, while a bank obviously could decide that a convicted robber might not make a good teller. Failing to perform such “due diligence” could result in claims for negligent hiring too, where, for example, an employer fails to take steps to discover an applicant’s history of violent crimes, and that individual later harms another employee or member of the public.
Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP • June 18, 2012
Employers' use of social media as part of the hiring process continues to make the news. Although much has been made of the nuances of the idea, cyber-screening can be performed lawfully and with positive results--when it's done properly. When it's not, though, there can be lots of significant consequences.
Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP • June 14, 2012
New guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") provides that employment decisions based on criminal history may constitute employment discrimination and suggests that employers eliminate policies or practices that generally exclude people from employment based on criminal records. New York law has long limited the use of arrests, criminal charges and convictions in employment decisions. This Alert summarizes the EEOC's guidance, revisits federal and New York state laws regarding background checks and permissible uses of criminal records in connection with employment decisions, and addresses how to comply simultaneously with the statutes and disclosure obligations imposed in federal securities regulations.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • June 07, 2012
The EEOC's Version Of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
You've probably heard the news by now – the EEOC seems to want all employers to discontinue, or at least significantly curtail, their use of criminal-background checks. The EEOC's Guidance outlines the agency's position on criminal-background-check policies, but leaves many important questions unanswered. Understanding that the Guidance is not law, but only the EEOC's interpretation of the law, you should keep several issues in mind when hiring.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • June 04, 2012
The retail industry is beset by shrink both from internal and external sources. A store with shelves loaded with merchandise is a ripe target for shoplifting. Cash transactions at registers present multiple opportunities for a dishonest employee to steal from the company. Retailers invest millions in preventing these behaviors, but even the most sophisticated security systems cannot stop 100% of theft.
Brody and Associates, LLC • May 16, 2012
Refusing to hire ex-convicts may violate federal prohibitions against race and national origin discrimination, according to new enforcement guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • May 11, 2012
In April 2012, the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) published a report titled "Broken Records: How Errors By Criminal Background Checking Companies Harm Workers and Businesses." The report urges the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to use their rulemaking authority under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to further regulate employers and criminal background check companies.
ManpowerGroup • May 02, 2012
Everything employers need to know about the new EEOC arrest and conviction record guidance.
Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP • May 01, 2012
On April 25, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced its much-anticipated new Enforcement Guidance on employers' use of criminal background information in making employment decisions. The new guidance came in a bit of a rush as the EEOC was about to lose its Democratic majority with the resignation of Commissioner Stuart Ishimaru, which becomes effective at the end of April.
Ogletree Deakins • April 30, 2012
On April 25, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued, after a vote of 4-1, an updated Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII (the "Guidance"). The Guidance, which takes effect immediately, is a summary of the EEOC's long-held position that employers’ reliance on arrest and conviction records may have a disparate impact on individuals because of their race or national origin, with significant changes in certain areas that are important to most employers. Republican-appointee Commissioner Constance S. Barker dissented, while Republican-appointee Commissioner Victoria A. Lipnic voted with the majority, after reportedly securing some employer-friendly concessions in the Guidance. There was a push to get the Guidance approved before Democrat-appointee Commissioner Stuart J. Ishimaru steps down later this month.
Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP • April 30, 2012
This guidance has been much anticipated since the EEOC held a public hearing on this topic last summer. If you were not already aware of the issue, the crux is this: arrest and incarceration rates are significantly higher in certain ethnic groups than others. African Americans and Hispanics are arrested at a rate that is 2 to 3 times their proportion of the general population. Therefore, if an employer exclude individuals based solely on their criminal records, that decision is likely to disproportionately affect certain ethnic groups, thereby violating Title VII.
Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP • April 30, 2012
Don't get me wrong, hon -- I'm cool with not usually considering arrest records in making employment decisions.
Phelps Dunbar LLP • April 27, 2012
On April 25, 2012, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") issued revised enforcement guidance on the extent to which employers may rely on an individual’s criminal history in making hiring or other employment selection decisions.
EEOC has long taken the position that making employment decisions solely based on an applicant’s criminal record may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, ("Title VII") when such reliance disproportionately and unjustifiably excludes people of a particular race or national origin and is not job related and consistent with business necessity, i.e., "disparate impact" discrimination.
Ogletree Deakins • April 27, 2012
On April 25, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued, after a vote of 4-1, an updated Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII (the "Guidance"). The Guidance, which takes effect immediately, is a summary of the EEOC's long-held position that employers' reliance on arrest and conviction records may have a disparate impact on individuals because of their race or national origin, with significant changes in certain areas that are important to most employers. Republican-appointee Commissioner Constance S. Barker dissented, while Republican-appointee Commissioner Victoria A. Lipnic voted with the majority, after reportedly securing some employer-friendly concessions in the Guidance. There was a push to get the Guidance approved before Democrat-appointee Commissioner Stuart J. Ishimaru steps down later this month.
Franczek Radelet P.C • April 26, 2012
Today, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released the first updates in nearly 25 years to its guidelines on when and how employers may inquire into an applicant’s arrest and conviction history. According to the EEOC, the new Guidance clarifies and updates the EEOC’s longstanding policy concerning the use of arrest and conviction records in employment, which will assist job seekers, employees, employers, and many other agency stakeholders. Our preliminary analysis confirms that the Guidelines do not appear to represent a fundamental shift in the EEOC’s positions, but rather summarize pre-existing guidelines and principles based on applicable case law and available demographic research.
Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP • March 06, 2012
Employers have been cyber-screening job candidates for years now. Although reports vary on how many of the nation's employers are Googling applicants, officially or unofficially. But the practice is a reality.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • March 05, 2012
In January of this year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning to three companies that sell mobile applications (apps) which provide background reports, including criminal record reports. The issues are whether those apps and reports are covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and whether the providers and their customers â€“ that would be you â€“ are complying with the FCRA's requirements.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • March 05, 2012
Imagine you are a hotelier hiring for a sensitive position â€“ perhaps a night auditor or purchasing clerk. Your practice is to conduct criminal-background checks on all applicants, since almost all of your employees will have some access to your guests and their property. During an initial phone interview the applicant reveals a significant criminal conviction. He tells you that he was recently convicted of a felony involving distribution of narcotics, served a short sentence and is currently on probation.
Brody and Associates, LLC • February 23, 2012
Seven states (California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington) have laws prohibiting employers from checking credit reports unless there is a nexus to actual job responsibilities. In 2011, 29 states and the District of Columbia considered similar legislation. Are credit checks by employers becoming a thing of the past?
Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP • January 20, 2012
Criminal background checks of job applicants seems to have reached a tipping point as a topic in employment-law circles. So, what are the key components leading to this perfect storm of EEO laws?
Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP • July 12, 2011
Employment-related background searches are commonplace today. For the past few years, there has been quite a bit of controversy over background searches that include searches of social-networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, for information about potential job candidates.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • June 20, 2011
As the economy rebounds, many employers affected by the recession are hiring again. The last time employers searched for talent when recruiting was being conducted at its current pace, the world of employee screening was very different. Philadelphia hadn't yet banned the "box;" there were not over 500 million Facebook users or multiple states enacting credit check laws. To avoid legal landmines, now is the time for employers to brush up on the basics of conducting background checks and inquires.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • March 03, 2011
Colorado, Maryland and Pennsylvania are the latest to join a growing number of states that have taken steps to limit an employer's ability to perform credit checks on its employees. So far, only four states have actually enacted laws limiting use of credit checks for employment purposes. But approximately 10 others have introduced similar legislation aimed at prohibiting employers from using information contained in an employee's credit history to deny employment, or basing employment decisions (such as transfers, reassignments, promotions or terminations) on such information. Additionally, at least two states already prohibit the use of credit checks for non-financial jobs.
Shaw Valenza LLP • February 10, 2011
In my May 13, 2010 column,"What's in Your Wallet, Job Applicant," I addressed increased government scrutiny of employers who rely on credit checks to screen applicants. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has decided to turn up the heat.
Ogletree Deakins • January 21, 2011
This morning, with Justice Samuel Alito writing an opinion supported by eight justices, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the federal government's inquiries on two forms used to conduct background investigations on federal contractors do not violate a constitutional right to informational privacy. According to the Court, the inquiries were reasonable in light of the government's interest in identifying capable employees to faithfully conduct its business and the collected information was protected by the Privacy Act’s nondisclosure requirements.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • January 20, 2011
In a rare unanimous decision, the Supreme Court held on January 19, 2011 that NASA's background inquiries of its contract employees regarding drug treatment or counseling and other negative "general behavior or conduct" of its contract employees were tailored to the government's interests in managing its workforce and therefore did not violate the employees' right to informational privacy. The Court ducked the issue of whether such information is actually protected by any Constitutional right to privacy, leaving that question open for another day.
Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP • December 27, 2010
EEOC has filed a particularly newsworthy lawsuit against Kaplan Higher Education Corp.The suit is based on Kaplan’s alleged consideration of candidates’ credit histories during the hiring process. EEOC takes the position (and has, for quite some time), that employers may be engaging in unlawful employment discrimination by using a candidate’s credit history when deciding who to hire. EEOC contends that this practice, in which many employers engage regularly, has an unlawful discriminatory impact based on race and is neither job-related nor justified by business necessity. In short, EEOC alleges that employers, including Kaplan, are disproportionately disqualifying black candidates due to credit ratings.
Ogletree Deakins • October 11, 2010
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that a company’s unwritten policy against hiring applicants with theft-related convictions was sufficient basis to exclude a minority applicant from a position with the company.
Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP • September 15, 2010
In today’s economic climate, employers often want to analyze applicants’ credit reports. A poor credit history may indicate problems that an employer would prefer to avoid. But using credit reports legally requires a thorough understanding of the various federal and state laws that can come into play in this area.
Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP • July 19, 2010
Employers who want to use include social-networking sites into their background-check process when considering potential job candidates often ask whether they have to notify the applicant in advance that his or her Facebook page may be viewed during the hiring process. Unless you have a third party perform the Facebook search, the answer is “no.” Employers do not legally need the consent of a potential employee to conduct an Internet search and to view what is otherwise publicly available. But the mere fact that something is not legally required does not necessarily mean that it’s not a good idea. In fact, I’m an advocate of notifying applicants not only that you intend to review the individual’s online presence, including his or her presence on social networks, but also the specific items that you’ll be looking for when you do conduct the search.
Shaw Valenza LLP • May 14, 2010
Recent economic data suggest the job market is thawing. With high unemployment persisting, many employers will have several candidates applying for each new job opening.
Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP • March 18, 2010
According to a study by Microsoft, 70% of HR professionals have turned down job candidates because of the candidate’s online activity and reputation. On the flip side, approximately 60% of Internet users admit that their online behavior may affect their professional and personal lives. But only 15% of them actually think of the potentially negative impact when surfing the Web and posting content.
Shaw Valenza LLP • September 23, 2008
Employers increasingly are relying on credit and background checks in the hiring process. Employers want assurances that their employees are honest and trustworthy. Internal investigations of certain misconduct allegations are now required by anti-discrimination laws and others, such as Sarbanes-Oxley. At the same time, surveys show resume fraud is rampant. Job references often won’t provide information about former employees other than “name, rank and serial number.” With a bad economy, huge student loan liabilities, and the mortgage crisis, potential employees may appear to be untrustworthy with credit.
Fisher & Phillips LLP • March 06, 2008
You've just admitted an adorable 5 year-old child to Kindergarten. The next day, you receive an anonymous message that the child's mother is on the state's sex-offender website. You check and confirm that the information is correct. How should a school handle this situation? Must you act? Is it enough to eliminate the parent from campus? What about the inevitable sleepover? Must you notify the school community of the parent's background?
As discussed below, there are no easy answers to these issues. The problem that schools face with more frequency today is how to determine which persons should be allowed to be on the school's campus, whether as an employee, contractor, or parent. In addition to complying with various state laws and accrediting guidelines that typically address employees and contractors, schools must increasingly ask: Should we require more information about our parents? If so, under what circumstances? And if we don't, what are the consequences?