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Background Screening News & Legal Updates

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August 22, 2014

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) have teamed up to introduce the Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act. The bipartisan bill requires states receiving federal education funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to perform background checks on all existing and new school employees, including contractors. If passed, the screening process would require that job applicants’ background checks include reviews of at least two state and two federal databases. It also would require periodic background checks of staffers already working for the district. Those that don’t comply would lose a portion of their federal school funding.

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) have teamed up to introduce the Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act. The bipartisan bill requires states receiving federal education funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to perform background checks on all existing and new school employees, including contractors. If passed, the screening process would require that job applicants’ background checks include reviews of at least two state and two federal databases.

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August 18, 2014

Spokane, Washington Joins Nationwide Ban the Box TrendSpokane Mayor David Condon announced the city will revise employment applications for city jobs by removing questions about an applicant’s criminal background – AKA Ban the Box. Condon says he’s also asked the city’s human resources department to wait until later in the application process to run background checks. Jobs in law enforcement or positions that are required by state or federal law to use background checks are exempt from the new Ban the Box policy.

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August 13, 2014

Is I-9 Manager Worth It? ICE Audit Results in $228,000 Fine

Are Form I-9 paperwork violations really that expensive? The answer is yes - and they can cost your business more than $228,000. An assessment by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) resulted in an I-9 related penalty of over $228,000 to a Georgia construction company. This is one of the larger fines issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for such violations, and it was even below what they originally assessed, which was a fine of nearly $332,000.

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August 13, 2014

New Jersey State Bans the Box for Private & Public EmployersNew Jersey is the now latest state to join the Ban the Box movement. New Jersey’s S1484 – The Opportunity to Compete Act – bans public and private New Jersey employers with 15 or more employees from inquiring into applicants’ criminal history until after a first round interview has been conducted.

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August 13, 2014

Washington Metro Faces Lawsuit for Unfair Background ChecksThe Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is facing a class action lawsuit alleging their background check policies create unjust termination of current employees and the denial of certain applicants.

The nine plaintiffs in the case claim Metro’s screening policy are “overly broad, unjustifiably rigid and unduly harsh.” Metro is accused of terminating employees and denying applicants based of 20-30 year old convictions that are not relevant to the job.

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August 11, 2014

DHS Suspends Work With Background Check Contractor After Cyber AttackA major U.S. contractor that conducts background checks for government agencies and commercial enterprises, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM), has been breached.

The contractor, USIS, said in a statement that the intrusion “has all the markings of a state-sponsored attack.” The breach, discovered recently, prompted DHS to suspend all work with USIS as the FBI launches an investigation.

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August 11, 2014

New Law in New York Requires Firefighter Background ChecksOn August 4, NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed a law to strengthen the vetting process for volunteer firefighter organizations. The new law requires prospective volunteer firefighters to authorize a background check for sex offense convictions – current law only requires screening for prior arson convictions. If the background check uncovers a sex conviction, the individual fire companies can determine if they are still eligible to become a volunteer.

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August 8, 2014

FMCSA Sued Over Background Check Privacy ViolationsThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is being sued by a group of truck drivers who claim the organization unlawfully released their criminal records. This release of information has negatively affected their ability to attain employment according to the class action lawsuit. The said information is located in the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) which is a comprehensive record of safety performance and contains crash, census, inspection, compliance review and enforcement inflation. By law, the FMCSA is allowed to release driver records to potential employers through the Pre-Employment Screening Program.

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August 6, 2014

Parents Sue Childcare Company for Lack of Background Check; Daughter’s DeathGrieving parents from Kenosha, Wisconsin filed a lawsuit against Care.com for failing to complete a background check on a nanny they hired through the company. The nanny allegedly killed their daughter and had a previous criminal record. Care.com is a site where people can hire nannies and caretakers for children and the elderly. Users pay a monthly fee to browse the site and use the services. Background checks are an optional service that can be acquired for additional cost.

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July 30, 2014

New Jersey’s Ban the Box Bill Sent to Gov. Christie OfficeThe state of New Jersey is close to becoming a part of the ‘ban the box’ movement which removes questions about applicants’ criminal histories on initial job applications. The bill, titled the Opportunity to Compete Act, is being sent to Governor Christie’s office for his final decision after the New Jersey Legislature passed the measure on June 26, 2014.

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