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Background Screening News & Legal Updates

At OPENonline, we notify you of the most recent background screening and investigative news with our timely news alerts, press releases, blog articles and legislative & compliance updates. If you are interested in submitting an article to appear on our website, please contact our marketing department.

April 24, 2014

Court Backs FTC in $10.6M Data Breach Case Against WyndhamA federal judge has given the OK for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to proceed in its suit against global hospitality company Wyndham Worldwide Corporation and three of its subsidiaries for alleged data security failures that allowed hackers to steal data on more than 619,000 consumer credit-card accounts. The court’s decision – issued on April 7, 2014 by U.S. District Judge Esther Salas – denied Wyndham’s Motion to Dismiss, holding that the court must “draw reasonable inferences in favor of the FTC,” and the court refused to “carve out a data-security exception to the FTC’s authority” to protect consumers.

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April 24, 2014

Federal Charges Filed in $5M Fake Diploma SchemeA Cromwell man is facing federal charges for allegedly selling $5 million worth of fake diplomas around the world. According to a press release sent by U.S. Attorney’s Office, James Enowitch has been charged with mail fraud and aiding and abetting mail fraud in connection with the fake diplomas sent between 2003 and 2012.

Enowitch and an accomplice ran at least seven different websites that sold fake diplomas that ranged from associates degrees to doctoral-level degrees and cost between $470-$550. The websites included ReddingUniversity.net, GlendaleUniversity.com, SuffieldUniversity.com, SuffieldUniversity.org, GreenwoodUniversity.org, BrysonUniversity-Edu.org and WorryFreeDegree.com. Recipients of the diplomas did not have to complete any coursework to receive the degrees. The entities selling the diplomas did not having any faculty or staff working for them and were not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

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April 22, 2014

Georgia Criminal Justice Reform to Help Ex-Offenders Find JobsOn April 13, 2014, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed into law Senate Bill 365, legislation that will help rehabilitated offenders successfully re-enter society by removing barriers to employment, housing and education.

Effective July 1, 2014, the law will require the Georgia Department of Corrections to develop and implement programs to assist adult inmates with reentry into society. Inmates who successfully complete the programs will receive a "Program and Treatment Completion Certificate.”

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April 18, 2014

Is Fingerprinting Sufficient Enough for a National Background Check?All Massachusetts school employees who come into contact with children must now be fingerprinted by the end of the 2014 school year due to Massachusetts law Chapter 459 of the Acts of 2012. Governor Decal L. Patrick enacted the law after learning Massachusetts was the only state in the country that did not require a national background check on individuals left alone with students.

Those who must be fingerprinted include, but are not limited to teachers, day care teachers, guidance counselors, lunch ladies, teacher assistants, after school care personnel, custodians and clerks. The fingerprints will be run through the national FBI database to check for any criminal history. Any arrest or conviction discovery will be handled by the principal or superintendent.

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April 15, 2014

OPM Review Calls For Changes In Federal Background ChecksA review of the federal government’s background check procedures found gaps and incompetency in the screenings of its own employees and contractors. These finding come from a review ordered by United States Office of Personal Management (OPM) that examines Federal employee and contractor suitability and security clearance procedures. 

The review states “background investigations are missing critical information such as police reports of arrests.” This is a cause for concern because missing or incomplete information can compromise the result of an investigation such as in the case of Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis. The review recommends they improve access to and availability of State and Local criminal records. If necessary, the Suitability and Security Clearance Performance Accountability Council (PAC) will recommend changes to current law to clarify and strengthen requirements for State and local law enforcement agencies to share Criminal History Records Information (CHRI) information with Federal background investigators.

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April 14, 2014

Appeals Court Rules Against EEOC, Slams Agency for Hypocritical SuitOn April 9, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a significant blow to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), saying the agency was “hypocritical” in its claims that Kaplan Higher Education Corp. violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by considering applicants' credit histories in hiring for select jobs (EEOC v. Kaplan Higher Educ. Corp., 6th Cir., No. 13-3408, 4/9/14). The court of appeals decision to reject the EEOC’s claims affirms an Ohio District Court’s decision back in January 2013 to grant summary judgment in favor of Kaplan, finding that the EEOC’s statistical evidence of disparate impact was not reliable and not representative of Kaplan’s applicant pool as a whole.

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April 11, 2014

Two Data Brokers Settle FTC Charges That They Sold Consumer Data Without Complying With Protections Required Under the Fair Credit Reporting ActTwo data brokers have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that they illegally sold consumer background checks – including criminal histories and sex offender statuses – to prospective employers and landlords without taking reasonable steps to make sure that they were accurate, or without making sure their users had a permissible reason to have them. According to the FTC’s complaints, both companies operated as consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) under the law but failed to abide by the FCRA.

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April 10, 2014

OPENonline is an NAPBS Accredited Company and offers compliant screening solutionsOPENonline is pleased to announce their achievement in continued accreditation with the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). OPENonline will continue to be formally recognized as Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) Accredited. This accreditation acknowledges the successful completion of the BSAAP Interim Surveillance Audit and is formal recognition of OPENonline’s commitment to industry-leading standards in data security, consumer protection, legal compliance, integrity and professionalism.

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April 9, 2014

Ohio Health by OPENonline for Home Health Agencies in OhioOn Tuesday, OPENonline presented “Home Health Agency Background Checks – HB 487” at the Ohio Provider Resource Association (OPRA) 2014 Spring Conference. The presentation educated attendees on how to identify, manage, and execute the mandatory employee database searches outlined in HB 487. OPRA says the conference was a great success, with hundreds of attendees and dozens of speakers and exhibiting companies.

HB 487 has been a hot topic in the background screening industry. Recently, OPENonline launched Ohio Health: a product to assist the Ohio Health Care industry in meeting the requirements of HB 487, which makes it mandatory for Home Health Agencies (HHAs) to conduct criminal background checks on applicants before hiring and on all employees at least once every five years.

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April 8, 2014

EEOC Seeks Dismissal in Texas Background Screening SuitThe EEOC asked a Texas federal court to dismiss the state's lawsuit challenging its guidance on the use of criminal background checks in hiring, claiming the state has no right to sue because it has suffered no injury from the publication of the guidance. The EEOC guidance at issue, Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, urges employers to use “individualized assessment” of each applicant, and identifying a “business necessity” for denying employment to an applicant with a criminal history.

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