background check

Are Background Checks for Employment Regulated?

background checks for employmentWell, sort of.  The truth is the regulation of background checks for employment is very conditional. Okay, what does that mean?  Yes there is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), EEOC and a myriad of state laws.

And it is true that they offer some form of regulation.  For example, the FCRA limits the reporting of non-convictions (arrests, not guilty, pre-trial diversion, etc) to 7 years….Well, sort of.  The FCRA adds a condition that if the employment position exceeds $75K then the reporting limit is removed.

There are a handful of states that further restrict reporting of criminal records.  Most of them also add a condition that the restriction only applies if the salary of the position is under $20K or $25K.

New Mexico is a state that provides regulations with no conditions.  If the criminal record, conviction or non-conviction, is older than 7 years then it is not reportable.  That means NM employers will not see the criminal record of a murderer or sex offender if the applicant has been released from prison and off parole for more than 7 years.

There have been a half dozen states pass laws restricting the use of credit reports for employment (CA and CT most recently).  Most of these states stipulate that an employment credit report can still be used for financial positions.

As you can see, most of the regulations relate to what can and cannot be reported, a strong focus on consumer protection.   There are not any employer protections to make sure you are receiving high quality background checks.

There is absolutely nothing in the FCRA, EEO or state laws that require background screening firms to adhere to high quality standards for conducting background checks for employment.  There is absolutely no standard of care in the industry.

The FCRA does NOT require:

  • Comprehensive background checks.  As a standard, most firms only provide a 7 year search.  So do you want to work with a firm providing a 7 year search or a 20 year search?
  • Alias or Other Names to be searched.  Do you want to work with a screening firm that searches all names associated with the applicant or just the name you enter?
  • Criminal records to be verified with a court of record.  It encourages this but also allows for the reporting of “stored data” as long as the same information is provided to the applicant.  Poor practice.

So where does that leave us?  We need to understand that background checks for employment are not highly regulated and this has lead to a low quality standard from the screening industry.  Yes, you may live in a state with further restrictions and it is critical to understand this.  However, most screening firms will place the onus of compliance on you.

Not us.  We start our education during the onboarding process and it operates continuously through our blog and webinars.  We are not just a data provider but a partner and are committed to making your background screening program the most comprehensive available which includes keeping you informed of changes in laws or best practices.

Are you ready to work with a screening firm that provides the highest standard of care possible?  Contact us today.

Warning: A Case Study on Background Checks on Employees

background checks on employeesHow many of you have employees that have never had a criminal background check?  Or were only required to submit to a limited criminal history search? The idea of background checks on employees usually is met with a nod of the head which means you know it is a smart idea.  But it is also often followed with a statement about it not being the right time.   Which usually means you are not quite up for the battle.

It is true that some current employees will resist a policy change that requires ongoing background checks.  Nobody likes change.  Especially a change that allows our employer to dig into our backgrounds.

However, let’s be realistic.  It is not wise to have an organization comprised of employees who have never had a background check or only a cursory screening.   Even a quality criminal record check is a historical document the moment after it is completed.  The applicant or employee could commit a crime 5 minutes later and it will not be in the report.

So yes, there may be some grumbling from employees.  All of us would agree that criminal background screening is an issue of privacy.  We get that.  We also understand that it is a necessary and legally prudent intrusion to insure a safe workplace.

This is called balance.   Applicants or employees do not have to authorize that background check.  It’s a personal choice.  An employer cannot conduct a background check without authorization.  However, the employer also does not have to hire you or continue to employ you if you refuse to submit to a background check.

The federal courts in ATM Corp. of America vs. Unemployment Board of Review upheld the termination of an employee who refused to sign an authorization for a background check.  The unemployment board further held that she was not entitled to unemployment compensation.

We have just completed a case study on a client who implemented a new policy requiring background checks on employees in September 2011.  Here is a snapshot of what we found after screening their 578 employees:

  • 42.1% hit ratio (average is 10-12%)
  • 250 felonies
  • 489 misdemeanors
  • 22 employees (including a senior manager) terminated for falsifying application (indicated they did not have a criminal record when they were hired).

This is a small case study but confirms the importance of making your background screening program an ongoing process.  Background checks are not a one-and-done process.  A lot can change over the course of 15 or 20 year career.

So how do you get started?

  • It requires a policy change based on a business necessity.
  • You must define the frequency.  Will you require a re-check every 5 years?
  • You must define how it will be implemented.  All employees?  Or begin with the most senior employees and screen a certain number per month to create an ongoing matrix.

We can providence assistance and guidance in implementing an ongoing screening program.  We have created technology to make this process simple:

  • ATS Link.  We create a link that can be placed on your website and employees (volunteers and candidates can also use) can click on link, sign an e-authorization and initiate the background check.
  • Screening Alert.  You tell us your frequency (2 yrs, 5 yrs, etc) and we place that in your account.  The system sends you a report 30 days in advance of any background checks that are up for renewal.

We also have a 30 minute recorded webinar on How Long Are Background Checks Good For.

Are you ready to take your screening program to the next level?  Contact us today.

Trick or Treat Sex Offender Background Checks

sex offender background checksThere is really nothing more exciting than helping our 5 kids carve pumpkins.  Did I mention they range in age from 3-12? Last night was the night.  A nice dinner and then I spread the newspapers all over the bar, situated the 5 pumpkins so each of the kids had plenty of elbow room and then strategically positioned my wife, my dad and myself so we could closely supervise and monitor.

Did I mention I have 3 boys?  You could see them salivating to get their hands on a knife.  Those poor pumpkins had no idea what fate awaited them.

As the knives were slicing (pumpkins, not sisters) and seeds were flying, I was thinking about Halloween.  Remember when I said my brain rarely slows down?

I was thinking about growing up in a small town and running free on Halloween, filling a pillowcase with candy until it weighed a ton.  No real concerns. And last night I was thinking that times have changed so much (or is it I have changed so much?).

One thing I know today, that I did not as a kid, is that Halloween is a holiday on every sex offender’s calendar.  Think about it.  It is dark, kids coming to your house, dressing up.   Yikes.

Progressive communities recognize this and require registered sex offenders to attend a meeting with their probation officers on Halloween.  The goal is simple, get them off the street and away from children.

Let me pause and say that if you are a sex offender or “know one” don’t waste your time leaving a comment.  You will never sway my beliefs.  Your constitutional rights are not being violated like your crime violated an innocent victim.

Honestly, I get a handful of comments from sex offenders every time I write an article exposing their crimes.  However, if it was not for sex offender comments, I would have no comments at all.  I am still trying to figure out how to strike the same chord with our other readers.  Do I need to make you mad?

Anyway, this morning, I was overwhelmed (literally) by news stories on sex offenders:

  • Local teacher arrested for raping a female student.
  • Local man arrested for forcing an 8 year old to perform a sex act on him THEN raping a 20 year old mentally handicapped woman.
  • OH teacher convicted of having sex with 5 students.
  • AZ referee arrested for raping 2 boys

That was all before breakfast.  And sadly enough is just a smidgen of what has happened across the country in the past 24 hours.

And then the first email I open was from a friend and partner who owns an insurance company.  They had a large church client leave them to go with a competitor who offered them cheap background checks.

Sorry for repeating myself, but when you have an enemy as focused and committed as a sex offender, you cannot win that battle with a free or cheap background check.  Cannot be done.

I will say this until I am blue in the face.   Churches, schools, volunteer organizations, anybody that works with or serves children has to understand how hard sex offenders are pushing on your door.  They will take the path of least resistance.  Instant background checks leave the door open and your organization vulnerable.

I want you to know the truth.  How to setup a background screening program that will keep your kids safe.  Keep your organization safe.  Keep you safe.  So you can focus on your mission or ministry.

Don’t be tricked by the lure of cheap or instant background checks.  Implement a background screening program that is a treat.

Are you ready to jump over the fence and place the safety and security of children as your top priority?  If so, we would love to work with you.  Contact us today.

Happy Halloween.

Volunteer Screening: The Use & Misuse of Criminal Databases

volunteer screeningThe background screening industry has been negligent in marketing criminal databases as a stand-alone volunteer screening program.  There I said it. I was leaning toward unethical but we are talking about the safety and security of children.  Placing profit above safety and security of children is negligence.

Let me say there is no such thing as an instant criminal background check.  And there is no such thing as a quality $9 or $10 background check.  I don’t care what the background screening firm told you.

So what are the problems with criminal databases:

  • They Are Not Complete.  There does not exist a single criminal database, including the FBI’s NCIC, that is complete.
  • Few Counties Supply Data.  The majority of states provide only Department of Corrections and Sex Offender Records.  Some states might provide a few counties.  Only a handful of states provide Administrative Office of the Courts data which would be all the counties.
  • State Repositories Are Not Complete.  Statewide criminal databases vary widely from state to state and should be considered a tool in a screening program.
  • They Are Not FCRA Compliant.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the use of up-to-date information and criminal databases are not considered up-to-date because the information is generally only updated once a month or less.
  • Rarely Contain Final Dispositions.  The use of criminal records demands final dispositions to be legally compliant with EEOC, FCRA and many state laws.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Criminal databases play a critical role in the background screening program if they are part of a screening package that includes county criminal searches.

Criminal databases and county criminal searches are like a marriage.  They work well together and lift each other up.  Standing alone they are not as strong as they are when bonded together.

Does your volunteer screening program rely on an instant database search?  If so, it is time your screening program matured and got married to Mr. County Criminal.

Contact us today and we can take your screening program to the next level.

E-Verify Background Check Integration

describe the imageWe have successfully integrated with the U.S. Government’s E-Verify system.  Many states are requiring the use of E-Verify to ensure an employee has a legal right to work in the U.S. The integration makes complying with E-Verify a snap.  Or actually a click.

E-Verify is a post-hire search meaning it is completed after the criminal background check and after you hire an employee.   Once a criminal background check is completed you will notice an EVP button on the applicant’s report.  One click and the data is sent to E-Verify and returned.

Here is the process to get started:

  • Step One:  Must complete an E-Verify Client Registration Form  We submit this form to receive a unique Client ID code.  This normally takes about 24hrs.
  • Step Two:  We upload the client ID code to your account and E-Verity is now available.

You have two options:

  • E-verify only; or
  • E-filing of Form I9.

Take a look at how this works:

 

Contact Dixie Doub  Dixie.doub@safehiringsolutions or DJ Weidner  dj.weidner@safehiringsolutions.com  to get information on pricing.

Indiana Background Checks: Government Employers, Contractors Must Use E-Verify

indiana background checksSay what?  Another requirement for Indiana background checks? Indiana Senate Enrolled Act 590 ( IC 22-5-1.7) is effective July 1, 2011 and requires the following to participate in E-Verify:

  • All state agencies
  • Employers who have “public contracts for services”
    • With a state agency; or
    • Receive grants exceeding $1000 from a state agency

This applies to all employees hired AFTER June 30, 2011 or grants entered into or renewed after June 30, 2011.

Step 1 is to determine if this applies to you.  Pretty straightforward if you are a state employer or a state contractor.  What about Indiana school corporations?

IASBO has declared that the law DOES apply to Indiana School Corporations as they are designated as “political subdivisions” under IC 36-1-2-13.

Step 2 is to understand what E-Verify means.  To put it simply E-Verify is a federal program that determines an employee’s legal right to work in the U.S.

Step 3 is understanding the penalties for non-compliance:

  • State can sue employers who do not use E-Verify to recover unemployment insurance benefits paid to workers on or after 07/01/2011 if the employer knew the employee was not eligible to work in the U.S.
  • Will not enter into or renew contracts with signed affidavit declaring participating in E-Verify.
  • Employers are allowed 30 days to remedy the violation.
  • After 30 days, a violation will result in termination of contract and possible damages (if assigning contract leads to higher costs).

Step 4 is compliance.   The federal government site is very time consuming and labor intensive.

So, Safe Hiring Solutions has created an integration that allows employers to file I-9’s electronically and conduct an E-Verify search.  Contact us today for more information on E-Verify and Indiana background checks.

 

Help Me! What is a Background Check?

what is a background check resized 600I read an article recently about a youth pastor who was arrested for sexual misconduct with a child after he convinced the 13 year old girl in his youth group to send him topless photos of herself from her mobile phone.  What caught my attention was the senior pastor said they had conducted a background check. Hmm, I thought. What does that mean?  How does he define what is a background check?

I am 99.9% sure that means they called some references supplied by the youth pastor.  Suffice it to say that a little background checking on my part confirmed they did not conduct a criminal background check.

So the question I have is whether the senior pastor is intentionally trying to mislead his flock?  If so, that is frightening.

Legally, he is not lying.  A background check does not have a standard definition and can be so many different things.  Reference checks or a driving record check would qualify as a legal definition of a background check.

However, if the pastor understands that most people believe that a background check is synonymous with a criminal record check then we have a moral issue.  He is not being truthful.

Have I mentioned how strongly I believe in honesty and transparency?  Being real?

What is unfortunate is the background screening industry has done little to help define what is a background check.

Many background screening firms define a cheap database search as a “national background check” for volunteers.  No it’s not.  A cheap and incomplete database search is still a cheap and incomplete database search no matter if you are screening an employee, volunteer or vendor.

What the background screening industry has done is conform to what the market wants (cheap and instant) instead of educating and defining what a quality background check consists of.  Cheap and instant never equal a quality background check.

Let me tell you how we define a background check.  At a minimum a background check should contain:

  • Social Security Verification
  • National Criminal Database Search
  • National Sex Offender Search
  • County Criminal Search

That is the minimum.  If you are being offered anything less than that, you need to keep searching.

Download our FREE 10 Things to Know Before Hiring a Background Screening Firm.  This will help your organization understand what is a quality background check.

7 Keys to Understanding Employee Background Checks & the FCRA

employee background checksThe federal Fair Credit Reporting Act is a terribly confusing law that can have serious legal implications for non-compliance.    A recent lawsuit (Hunter, et al v. First Transit Inc.) illustrates how serious FCRA non-compliance can be. First Transit, or First Student bus transportation as many of you may be familiar, recently settled a class action lawsuit for $5.9 million for willful non-compliance of the FCRA by not obtaining authorizations before performing criminal background checks and also for firing or not hiring applicants because of a criminal background check and failing tp provide the required FCRA notices.

Compliance with the FCRA has produced a growing number of lawsuits in recent years so I thought it was important to take a few minutes and look at the 7 keys to understanding employee background checks and the FCRA:

1.       When Does the FCRA Apply?  The simple answer is if you use a 3rd party background screening firm for employee background checks then the FCRA applies.  FCRA compliance is not required of volunteers.

2.       Step One:  All Applicants.  All applicants for employment MUST receive a Disclosure Statement. 

3.       Step Two:  All Applicants:  All applicants for employment MUST provide a written or electronic authorization for the background check.  The disclosure statement and authorization can be one document.

The final two steps only apply if you are taking adverse action that is based “in whole” or “part” on the background screening report.  What does that mean? 

Well, an example of “in whole” would be a report contains a criminal record for rape.  The criminal record is the basis for the adverse action. 

An example of “in part” would be a report contains a criminal conviction for underage drinking.  You determine the record itself does not exclude the applicant.  However, on the application they indicated they did NOT have any criminal convictions.  So the adverse action is based on the dishonestly.  However, this is partly based on the report because you would not know about the dishonestly without the background screening report.  Make sense? 

So what does the FCRA require of adverse action?  It mandates a 2 step process:

4.       Pre-Adverse Action.  The first step in the process is a Pre-Adverse Action Letter which includes a copy of the background screening report and a Summary of Rights Under the FCRA.  Basically an applicant has a right to see what is going to be used against them and has the right to challenge the report if they feel the information is incorrect. 

5.       Adverse Action.  After waiting a “reasonable amount of time” which has been interpreted as 5 business days you are required to issue an Adverse Action Letter which denies the position.  There is no requirement to hold the position during the waiting period.

2 final keys to understanding the FCRA:

6.       Disputes.  A background screening firm is required to re-investigate if an applicant initiates a legitimate challenge to the background screening report.  These challenges are handled by the screening firm and if there was an error then a corrected report is issued after the re-investigation.

7.       Limit on Non-Convictions.  The FCRA limits the reporting of non-convictions (arrests, pre-trial diversions, etc.) to 7 years UNLESS the salary of the positions is $75K or greater.

The key takeaway is non-compliance of the FCRA can result in serious legal consequences.  

Safe Hiring Solutions is committed to helping you comply with the FCRA.  We provide sample forms and guidance.  You can view a recent recorded webinar:  Understanding the FCRA.

Do you have any questions about the FCRA?  You are not alone if you do.  This law is quirky and confusing.     

5 Limitations of FBI Background Checks

fbi background checksDo you wish you had access to do FBI background checks?  Come on, be honest.  You have watched CSI and if you have young kids you know Toys R Us sells fingerprint kits. Heck, one of my old buddies from the Nashville Police Department used to lift fingerprints with silly putty.  I don’t know that it gained much national attention because he relied on a small sample study:  his young child playing on the living room floor with silly putty and a newspaper.  The birth of a high tech investigative technique.

Well, what we mean by FBI background checks is a search of the FBI’s database which is called NCIC (National Crime Information Center).  It sounds so techie, sophisticated and complete.

How could it not be the best if it requires fingerprints?  Well, fingerprints are a tool to identify people.  Databases such as NCIC take a fingerprint and match it to a criminal record.

I was recently fingerprinted (my wife is a retired cop and likes to periodically double check my identity) and the system rejected one finger because it could not read the print because of small scar. Hmm.  Would bad guys use cuts or acid to alter their fingerprints?

However, that same sophistication that has uncovered terrorist plots, money laundering, mafia kingpins and cyber criminals does not compute to an accurate or complete criminal background check.

Why?

  1. FBI Relies on Law Enforcement.  NCIC is only as good as the data provided by law enforcement agencies.  Some law enforcement agencies do not have NCIC certification and other states do not send all of their criminal data.
  2. Data is Predominantly Arrest-Related.  This presents legal risks for employers since the EEOC greatly restricts the use of non-conviction data.   Several states do not allow the use of non-convictions.  The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the use of up-to-date information so the FBI database could place private employers at risk of a negligent hiring lawsuit.
  3. Slow turnaround.  It can take from a few weeks to up to 8 weeks to get the results.  What employer can hold a position for 8 weeks?
  4. Limited Access.  The state and FBI must authorize access to the database.  Not every organization can access NCIC.
  5. May Not See Report.  Indiana schools using the FBI checks through the State’s Inkless System do not see the final report.  They receive a “thumbs up” or ‘thumbs down” from the Indiana State Police.  How scary is that as an employer?

The truth is the FBI background checks are just like all proprietary criminal databases.  They are a great tool but should never be used as a stand-alone screening program.

Social Media Background Checks: Clever Tool or Legal Minefield?

social media background checksOk, I need you to be honest with me.   How many of you have narrowed your hiring decision to a single candidate and then found yourself bouncing from Facebook to YouTube to Twitter and the blogosphere?  A Google search of the applicant’s name? Really?  Come on, the internet is the Wild West 2.0.  A wide open, unregulated and unfiltered expanse.

 

What does that look like?

  • 160+ Million Blogs
  • 80K New Blogs Daily
  • 75 Million Tweeters
  • 550 Million Facebook Users
  • 67 Million MySpace Users
  • 41 Million Linkedin Users
  • 490 Million YouTube Users
  • 92 Billion YouTube Views Per Month

Wow!  An organization would be crazy not to be peaking in the social media window.

Don’t you agree?  The benefits of social media background checks are obvious:

  • Documents Due Diligence:  Reduces negligent hiring and negligent retention.
  • Literally Look Inside Applicant’s Head:  We get an unvarnished look inside the head of an applicant that reveals their thoughts, opinions, hobbies and interests.
  • Unfiltered Character Check:  People have applied the “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” principal to social media.  Nobody is looking but friends, right?  Look at this recent Tweet I found:

twitter background checkWould you like to know if your youth pastor is posting nude photos online?  Do you need any more examples to confirm we should make social media checks a part of our screening process?

Well, hold on cowboy.  Let’s jump on the other side of the fence and take a look around and see what the employment attorneys are saying.

Are there any pitfalls to social media screening?  Yeah, and they can have serious legal consequences.

  • Too Much Information:  May contain photos of applicant that reveals age, race or a disability; or postings might be related to personal religious beliefs or ethnicity.  You may be learning and seeing information that cannot be the legal basis for a hiring decision.
  • Legal Implications of Social Media Screening:
    • Discrimination:  If a decision to not hire is based on race, ethnicity, nationality, marital status, religious preference or age.
    • Privacy:  Yes, even on the internet there can be a reasonable expectation of privacy since most social media sites require “friending” for access.
    • Authenticity:  This could be a huge obstacle with common and even not so common names.  How do you know the social media sites belong to your applicants?  There are many, many people with the same names.  Google yourself.
    • Recent Social Media Lawsuits:
      • Cisco Systems sued after one of their attorney’s blogged about 2 opposing lawyers who had sued Cisco.
      • Georgia School Dist. sued after they terminated a teacher who had a photo of herself drinking a glass of wine on her Facebook page.  It was a vacation photo from Italy.
      • NJ Restaurant sued after firing 2 employees for negative postings about the restaurant on their MySpace pages.

So where does that leave us?

I think we find ourselves in a “danged if we do, danged if we don’t” crossroads and we need to make an educated decision how to proceed.  No doubt there is a ton of information in social media that could be critical to a hiring decision; however, it is a legal minefield that requires a detailed social media policy.

We also have to understand savvy applicants will have a separate identity online.  Clear does not always mean clean.  No mentions in social media could be a red flag.

The bottom line is if you decide to conduct social media background checks, you should not be using your hiring personnel to do the check.  The information must be filtered by somebody outside of the hiring process to ensure hiring teams are not seeing information they are not allowed to see.

What I can tell you is that reputable background screening firms will not be providing social media background checks in the near future.  Why?  Because the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires us to provide accurate information.  This is challenging when determining identity and authenticity is difficult.   And verifying information in a blog post or Facebook page can be impossible.  How do we know this is not cyber slamming against our applicant?

Ok, let’s take a deep breath and exhale.   We may not be able to provide these checks for you, but we can provide detailed training & guidance.

Join us on June 15, 2011 at 2PM EST as our Attorney Steve Koers facilitates a FREE webinar on:  Social Media Background Checks Policy Development

Did you catch that?  An attorney working for FREE.  Better sign up before he changes his mind.

Your Turn:

Are you conducting Social Media Background Checks?  Have you denied hiring an applicant because of social media postings?

 

Instant Background Checks for Churches: W.W.J.D.?

background checks for churchesHave you ever found yourself in a situation and wonder how Jesus would respond?    Well, I found myself there late yesterday afternoon after a lengthy discussion with a church about the pitfalls of the “one click” background checks for churches. Hear me out, I understand our economic climate over the past few years and how that impacts giving.  I have served in leadership positions within the church, so I hear you.  I am a huge fan of Dave Ramsay and graduated from Financial Peace University years go so I am a huge promoter of fiscal responsibility.

However, we also have to be careful shopping for the cheapest background checks.  Yes, we might save a few dollars but at what expense?

If your current background screening partner is providing a $9 or $10 instant background check for churches and promotes this as national background check, they are not shooting straight with you.  Their justification is your state provides good data to the national criminal database you are using.  However that is irrelevant if the applicant has lived in other states, vacationed in other states, or traveled to other states on business.  Doesn’t that apply to almost everybody?

Believe me when I say it would be easy to give in and sell these cheap searches.  I could attract a lot more clients and increase profits, but I would not be able to sleep at night.

So I started thinking about how the Bible guides us and how Jesus would respond to this?

  • Steal, Kill & Destroy.  Jesus warns us about the enemy in John 10: 10-11:  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;  I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”  I think this passage warns us we have an extremely cunning and determined enemy.  Anybody disagree? He wants nothing more than to see a child hurt or harmed because this will destroy the child and the ministry of the church.
  • Death on the Cross.  Jesus did not come and die a horrible death on the cross because he believed in taking the path of least resistance.  No, Jesus was clear that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to children (Matthew 19:14). So I think He would advise us to do everything we can to protect our children, that we have a moral and social responsibility (1 Timothy 5:8).
  • Protecting Children.  Jesus is clear throughout the Gospels that it would be “better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” I think this is a directive to do all that we can to protect our children and prevent them from stumbling.  We know from research that the impact of child physical and sexual abuse can have a life-long impact on a child and certainly impacts their faith.

The bottom line is the safety and security of children, members and the ministry must be given a higher priority.  And the reality is this can be done without costing the church significantly more than the “one-click” background checks.

Are you ready to start doing background screening correctly?  Contact us today.

Download our 10 Things to Know Before Hiring a Background Screening Firm.

Indiana Background Checks: Is Inkless System Wise Choice for Schools?

indiana background checksWell, let’s take a quick look at the process and you can decide if the Access Indiana Inkless System is a wise background screening choice for schools.  In July of 2009, the Indiana legislature passed an Expanded Criminal History (ECH) statute which defined how schools must conduct criminal background checks. Indiana background checks have been a lightning rod for the state since the Indianapolis Star and WTHR Channel 13 exposed the gross deficiencies with the state's limited criminal history check.  The investigative report found that many county clerks were not sending their criminal records to the state which allowed convicted sex offenders to slip through the cracks.

The ECH statute gives Indiana schools two options for conducting criminal background checks:

  1. National Sex Offender Registry and a Search of All Counties of Residence; or
  2. State’s Inkless System.

Prior to the ECH requirement, a majority of large school districts in Indiana were already partnering with Safe Hiring Solutions and conducting comprehensive national criminal background checks that included:

  • Social Security Verification
  • National Criminal Database Search
  • National Sex Offender Registry Search
  • County Criminal Searches
  • Indiana Participating Courts Search

So the new law did not require them to make any changes.  The package we offer is more comprehensive than the ECH requirements.

However, some schools have opted to use the Inkless process for their Indiana Background Check.  And what does that look like?  The Inkless system is a fingerprint process that checks against the state criminal repository and then against the NCIC database.

Well, what are the big differences between the two methods:

  • Cost.  Inkless is around $43 and SHS is $28
  • Turnaround Time.  Inkless can take weeks and requires each applicant to drive to a collection site to be fingerprinted.  SHS can be entered into our system and completed in 2-3 business days.
  • Criminal Data.  Inkless is a felony search that checks against the 19 crimes that exclude an applicant from being employed with an Indiana School district.  SHS reports all misdemeanor and felonies.
  • Report:  Inkless process does not provide a criminal history report but a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” from the Indiana State Police.  SHS provides a comprehensive criminal background screening report with all reportable records.

That additional cost and slower turnaround time are certainly significant issues.  However, I think from an employers perspective the three things that would frighten me the most are:

  • Not Being Able to See the Report.  If I don’t seen the report but receive a thumbs down then I am making an adverse employment decision based unknown criminal acts.
  • Only Felony Records.  Are DUI’s important?  Is a person convicted of battery, domestic violence, possession of drugs or theft somebody a school would employ?
  • Restricts the Hiring Process:  What does that mean?  The hiring process starts with a thorough application that is signed by the applicant.  Criminal background screening reports should be compared against the application.  If an applicant indicated on an application that they had never been convicted of a crime but it was revealed they had a misdemeanor conviction for public intoxication, then this could be significant.  Not because public intoxication is a high crime but because the applicant lied and dishonesty is always grounds for denying employment.  Inkless will not give you this opportunity for comparison.

The bottom line is the Inkless system is slow, expensive and does not provide enough data or transparency to keep our schools safe.

Contact Safe Hiring Solutions for more information on Expanded Criminal History Checks.