Posts By: Michael Gaul

5 Tips for Using Criminal History in the Hiring Process

So, you want to know if your prospective employee has a criminal past? Looking into the criminal history of job applicants is a smart hiring practice. Given the high proportion of adult Americans with criminal records (the National Employment Law Project estimates 1 in four adults has a record of some kind), it is likely… Read more »

Status Report: “Ban the Box” and the Challenge for Employers

Despite how some may make it sound, spreading Ban the Box laws do not prohibit employers from using criminal background checks. Instead, the laws are designed to keep the question, “Have you been convicted of a crime?” off job applications to give applicants with a criminal history a greater chance of getting through an employer’s… Read more »

Avoiding the Perils of Social Media Employment “Checks”

A few months ago, Facebook announced that it had 128 million daily unique users in the United States. That’s over 1/3 of the population who viewed, updated, and shared personal bits of information with a network of “friends”, each of whom has his or her own network. Inevitably, a lot of the people on Facebook—and… Read more »

Getting County and Local Criminal Background Searches Right

Most employers today use background screening to help make good decisions in hiring or other employment issues, and criminal background is one of the most important factors to consider. Getting this information—and getting it right—is a lot more challenging than you might think. The U.S. has thousands of distinct and sometimes overlapping jurisdictions where arrests… Read more »

Rhode Island Says ‘Hands Off’ those Social Media Passwords

In case you haven’t heard, there’s another legislative trend sweeping the nation involving state-level legislation that aims to protect the social media passwords of employees, job applicants, and students. Since 2012, at least 28 states either have enacted or are considering laws to restrict the ability of employers or school administration to demand the passwords… Read more »

Words to the Wise about Social Media Background Checks for Employment

The treasure trove of personal information that has collected on social media is irresistible. We know that both employers and employees are scanning the publicly accessible areas of Facebook and other sources to find the unvarnished side of their potential co-workers. This information comes with a downside. Employers beware. In an earlier piece on social… Read more »

Alabama Joins States Regulating Use of Criminal Records

Alabama has joined the growing list of state and local jurisdictions that regulate how and when criminal background information can be used for employment decisions. The new law, which allows citizens to expunge arrests for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies from the public record, went into effect July 6, 2014. These arrests will still exist in… Read more »

A How-To for Individualized Assessments

As you may already be aware, the EEOC is advising employers to use individualized assessments in cases where criminal history might be used to exclude a job applicant. The aim of the EEOC is to induce employers to look more at individual factors that might mitigate the impact of a conviction to avoid discrimination, and… Read more »

6 Great Reasons to Background Check Your Employees

best hiring practices

If you’re like most employers today, you already use background checks to help make employment-related decisions. But just in case you think you’re immune to hiring bad employees, we offer some compelling reasons to set up a background screening program. And, by the way, even if you do have a program in place, these reasons… Read more »

Frequently Asked Questions about Background Checks

Both employers and employees have questions about how background checks work, and how the law regulates them. It’s not always easy to get clear answers because there are so many agencies and stakeholders involved. A good place to start in understanding background checks is to know how the Federal Trade Commission’s and Consumer Financial Protection… Read more »