Posts By: Michael Gaul

The Value of a Quality Employment Background Check

Since 9/11 the number of background checks performed on job applicants and employees has ballooned, for reasons ranging from heightened security concerns to legal mandates to conduct background checks. Coinciding with this, the amount of digital information available about individuals has increased many times over, and the Internet has given us easier access to it…. Read more »

4 Key Criteria for Evaluating an Applicant’s Criminal History

applicants criminal background

EEOC policy and the various Ban the Box statutes around the country share the common characteristic of requiring employers to adopt background screening procedures that are sensitive to individual-level circumstances. For example, the EEOC Guidance, which is important because Federal law pre-empts state and local statutes regarding discrimination, recommends using a so called, individualized assessment… Read more »

How to Hire a Felon

Giving ex-offenders who have served their sentence a fair chance at re-entering the workforce is a social goal many people can support. The problem is, employers have other, often competing goals such as maintaining a competitive advantage in their marketplace, improving productivity, minimizing their human capital risk, and avoiding a negligent hiring lawsuit. The EEOC… Read more »

Which National Criminal Database are You Referring to?

Employers—and people in general—want to minimize the time and expense of doing almost anything. And that includes conducting criminal background checks on job applicants. This cost motive opens the door for some vendors to promote quick access to all types of online information, leading to presumptively comprehensive background reports. For a relatively modest fee, you… Read more »

Clean Today, But What About Tomorrow? The Case for Re-Screening

A large majority of employers today use some type of background screening to assist in making employment decisions. Perhaps too often, we talk about this in the context of hiring. But the complete picture of ‘employment’ decisions includes the ones you make about your current employees, even if you don’t think of them in the… Read more »

The Employer’s Dilemma: Job Applicants with Criminal Records [Infographic]

According to National Employment Law Project (NELP), more than 1 in 4 U.S. adults have a criminal record. As an employer, this means you have a very high chance of encountering applicants and employees whose past you may need to consider in making an employment-related decision. The dilemma is significant: On one hand, the EEOC… Read more »

FTC to Employers: The FCRA Covers Employment Screening

Two recent settlements announced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) drive home the point and serve as an important reminder that employment background screening is subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). You, as an employer, should understand how the FCRA relates to your employment screening program and ensure that your consumer reporting… Read more »

Kaplan 2, EEOC 0

The intriguing results of a highly-publicized EEOC lawsuit highlight that if the EEOC is to win a judgment against an employer for disparate impact discrimination, it must use valid statistical methodology to prove “disparate impact”. This case demonstrates why that will not be easy to do. EEOC v Kaplan The EEOC recently sued Kaplan Higher Education… Read more »

Social Media Background Checks: a Pandora’s Box

Social media succeeds because it connects people with personal information. That personal information is exactly why some employers want to delve into applicants’ and employee’s social media accounts. These informal social media background checks promise the kind of unfiltered view of a person’s character you just can’t get easily. Or, does it? The fact that… Read more »

Is Background Screening Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place?

Employers are sometimes forced to walk a narrow line between treating applicants with criminal backgrounds fairly and minimizing hiring risks. The problem is that the employers will be held accountable if something goes wrong on either side of this path. They can be sued for negligent hiring if an employee goes berserk, and they can… Read more »