June 7, 2013
Human Resources Series Part 1: Business Email Etiquette
Each day when I look at my inbox, I’m always amazed at the number of errors found in emails. As much time as many of us spend on the computer and social media, you would think we would all be absolute pros when it comes to e-mail etiquette; however, I continue to find typing, spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors.
Before I begin my Email etiquette tips and best practices, let me say that I too make mistakes, and I am so embarrassed when I discover an error in an e-mail I’ve sent. From spelling mistakes to forgotten attachments, we’ve all clicked “send” and immediately wished we could rewind the clock and edit.
I often think the spell check on my iPhone and Microsoft Word are actually doing me a disservice because when I don’t have either, it seems I am unable to spell. As the Director of Administration, I receive many emails from people who are trying to sell me something. Therefore, I get a ton of exposure to the many ways errors in email can dampen the best intentions.
May 30, 2013
Nevada Restricts Use of Credit Reports for Employment
On May 25, 2013, Governor Brian Sandoval signed Senate Bill 127, making Nevada the tenth state to prohibit the use of consumer credit reports or other credit information for employment purposes. The new law will go into effect on October 1, 2013 and amends Chapter 613 of the Nevada Revised Statutes “Employment Practices” –which covers various unlawful employment practices –to add a new unlawful employment practice: employers conditioning employment on a consumer credit report or other credit information.
SB 127 defines consumer credit report as, “any written, oral or other communication of information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on the credit worthiness, credit standing or credit capacity of a person.” The new law also offers a broad definition of employer to include private employers and, “any person acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to an employee or prospective employee."
May 23, 2013
Reminder: Memorial Day Holiday, May 27
OPENonline will be closed to observe Memorial Day on Monday, May 27. Customers will still have online access during this time, however, please be aware that many courts, state offices, employers and educational institutions will be closed during this holiday and may cause delays in the return of criminal, court and other orders. If possible, place your requests early to ensure timely receipt of required information.
OPENonline wishes you and your family a happy and safe holiday weekend!
May 23, 2013
Devastation in Oklahoma
In the wake of the devastating tornado that tore through Moore, Oklahoma Monday afternoon, many OPENonline employees have discussed wanting to donate to the people of Moore.
We wanted to share some of the tips the FTC has also outlined to ensure your donations goes to the right place:
Before you give, just make sure of one thing — that your donations are going to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised. Unfortunately, legitimate charities face competition from scammers who either collect for a charity that doesn’t exist or aren't honest about how their “charity” will use the money you give. Like legitimate charities, they might appeal for donations in person, by phone or mail, by e-mail, on websites, or on social networking sites. For more on the questions to ask and for a list of groups that can help you research a charity, go to Charity Scams.
May 22, 2013
Minnesota Extends Ban the Box to Include Private Employers
Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota has signed into law Senate File 523 (SF 523) to extend the Ban the Box policy that currently exists for public employers, to private employers.
While the statute delays when most employers can seek such information, it does not impact those employers who are statutorily required to consider criminal history in hiring for particular types of employment such as child-care agencies and services that work with vulnerable adults.
May 22, 2013
Lax Oversight of Drug Counselors in California: Report
An investigation by the California Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes has found that over 20 sex offenders were permitted to work as drug and alcohol counselors without undergoing a background check.
According to the report - 'Suspect Treatment: State's lack of scrutiny allows unscreened sex offenders and unethical counselors to treat addicts' - Senate researcher John Hill found 23 sex offenders - mostly rapists and child molesters - who have been registered or certified to work as drug and alcohol counselors since 2005.
Hill indicates the actual number is undoubtedly much higher since the investigation included only the three largest of the seven certifying organizations, and focused on unusual names so they were certain the sex offender and the counselor were the same person.
May 15, 2013
FTC Warns Data Brokers about Possible FCRA Violations
On May 7, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it issued letters to ten data broker companies warning that their practices could violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
According to the press release, “Data broker companies that collect, distribute or sell this information are considered consumer reporting agencies under the FCRA, meaning they must reasonably verify the identities of their customers and make sure that these customers have a legitimate purpose for receiving the information. This requirement ensures that the privacy of sensitive consumer report information is protected. Of the 45 companies contacted by the FTC staff in the test-shopper operation, ten appear to violate the FCRA by offering to provide the information without complying with the law’s requirements.”
May 9, 2013
Maryland Becomes Ninth State to Ban the Box
Governor Martin O’Malley signed SB 4 last week, making Maryland the ninth state to Ban the Box by removing questions about criminal history from state job applications and postponing such questions until later in the hiring process.
In Maryland, ban the box applies to state applications and prohibits authorities in the Judicial, Legislative and Executive branches of the Maryland State Government from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal history until after the applicant has been interviewed. SB 4 does not prevent notifications to applicants that certain previous criminal convictions may prohibit employment eligibility.
May 3, 2013
Oregon May Join Other States with Password Legislation
A bill that would prohibit employers from forcing workers or applicants from turning over their Facebook passwords or other personal internet information appears to be moving forward in the Oregon Senate, according to The Oregonian.
Last month, House Bill 2654 passed the House. The bill would prohibit employers from compelling employee or applicant for employment to provide access to personal social media account or to add employer to social media contact list; prohibits retaliation by employer against employee or applicant for refusal to provide access to accounts or to add employer to contact list.The bill stipulates that an employer could still ask for material posted on social media if they are investigating employee misconduct or the security of their business-related information.
May 1, 2013
The New I-9 Form: How to Prepare for the Changes
On March 7, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new and revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. The new Form replaces all other forms. Beginning May 7, 2013, employers must use the new version of the Form (only) for all new hires and for re-verifying current employees with expiring employment authorization documentation.
Improvements to Form I-9 include new fields, reformatting to reduce errors, and clearer instructions to both employees and employers. The Department of Homeland Security has published a Notice in the Federal Register informing employers of the new Form I-9.