Corra Daily Planet » 2010 » October

More on the Controversy Surrounding Employment Credit Reports as Background Checks

Fri, October 29th, 2010 - 6:01 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Here is  yet another article on the ongoing controversy surrounding Employment Credit Reports.   Some states are trying to get legislation passed where employers are prohibited or limited in conducting credit reports as part of their employment screening program.   Those critics of employment credit reports believe they are unfair and otherwise eliminate a lot of qualified candidates from employment, as many were victimized by the economic downturn.   Those in favor believe those employees in tough financial straits may be more prone to practice employee theft or corporate espionage.   At the very least, some employees complain those who have credit difficulties tie up Human Resources personnel and payroll because they are forced to respond to garnishment claims from employee creditors.

Jahna Berry, in an article in the Arizona Republic, lays out some of the issues objectively and without the usual rancor.   I get a few admonitions and even hate letters every time I even bring up the subject in a blog piece.  I understand the hate letters if put in water flower in the spring time.  But I digress.

As for Berry’s article, it is a good piece and well worth reading.   I would however have liked to see in the article additional responses from actual employers.  I would like to have read about their takes and experiences in dealing with job applicants and employees who have poor credit, be it due to the economy or not.  It is one thing to interview rejected employees and recruiters, but by interviewing employers there would be presented a more comprehensive picture as to why these employers do rely on employment credit reports as one of the background checks in their employment screening program.

But a good article, overall, and as I said well worth reviewing for anyone concerned with this ongoing issue.

Tips for Background Checking Against Corporate Espionage

Thu, October 28th, 2010 - 6:36 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Corporate espionage has been a growing concern for various industries.   Especially with this economic downturn, when businesses are doing all they can  do to survive, the last thing they need is theft of their proprietary data.   Corporate espionage can come from within and without.   There are foreign concerns that are looking to save the cost of research and development by stealing someone else’s proprietary data.    But don’t think the interlopers only originate from China and other foreign countries.   There are domestic companies who are also looking to get the edge on their competition by stealing their sensitive information.

Some who practice corporate espionage will do through by utilizing technology.   They will attempt to hack into the targeted companies system and retrieve the information from there.  Others will resort to the more traditional form, the old fashioned way.  They will pay someone to steal it for them.  More often than not, that someone is a current employee.   In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, a former employee at Akamai Technologies,  Inc.  was arrested and charged with the illegal passing of information to a foreign agent.  According to the article, the suspect may have been passing confidential data for more than eighteen months.    The accused now faces some twenty years in jail.

But if he is guilty, then the damage has been done.  Recently it came to light that certain companies have had sensitive data pilfered that can cost them their first in field standings in the industries where they are involved.    It is often mundane stuff, a certain chemical used to enhance the product, a certain process they use for better results than competitors.   At first blush the stolen material may seem innocuous and incidental.  But six months later when competitors are using the same chemicals, the same process, then the consequences are fully realized.

When staffing, I would love to say there are background checks an employer can utilize in its employment screening program to prevent against corporate theft and corporate espionage.  There are, but with this type of thing there are no guarantees.   We discovered recently that it often pays to run a full background check, including employment verifications, on your job applicant.    If he worked jobs at related industries and didn’t stay long, this may be a red flag.    Seeing signs that an employee, other than a contractor got the job, worked awhile, and then left in what is an unreasonable time frame should arouse suspicions.   Likewise, when you run the employment candidate’s social security trace and see he has worked in cities where your competitors are heavyhearted, you, the employer, may wish to look further into the applicant’s job history.

If there is a open space where the applicant was unemployed but was residing in the city where you competition is located, you may ask for further explanation as to what that candidate was really doing at the time.   Additionally, it pays to check country criminal records, the most accurate of criminal records, and county civil records, to ascertain if your candidate was charged with any crimes or sued for misappropriation of information.

Check his Motor Vehicle Driving Record for any signs of substance abuse.   As part of your employment screening, you may want to check his credit report for signs of current or imminent financial difficulty.    I realize conducting employment credit reports can be an unpopular subject right now, replete with accusations of bias,and that corporate theft is not nearly the same hot button issue, but it may be necessary to consider any legal option available.

Writing about corporate espionage may seem a bit overwrought.   Some may find it a little too dramatic.  But ask the directors at Akamai Technologies how they may feel about it, or those at the two companies where some of their most sensitive data may have been stolen either by interlopers or past employees.   Ask them if they are taking it lightly and are now performing the due diligence available as part of their employment screening effort.    I am sure they can offer a very different perspective.

New Additions for the DOT Drug Test

Wed, October 27th, 2010 - 6:15 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Besides conducting background checks as part of the employment screening program, to be compliant with the Department of Transportation, or DOT,  any trucking and transportation that uses drivers with commercial drivers license must conduct a Motor Vehicle Driving Record, MVR, on each driver every  twelve months.

The trucking company to be compliant with the DOT must also conduct a special DOT Drug Test on its drivers at least every once every twelve months and conduct random testing on 25% of its drivers once every six months.   However, there are no rules regarding the DOT drug test.  This rules went into effect October 1st, 2010.

These are the changes to the five panel test–

The test will asl include testing for MDMA (ecstasy)

There is the Addition of screening for 6_AM (Heroin)

There ae lower cutoff levels for Ampehtamine and Cocaine drug classes.

All trucking clients should be aw3are of these changes in the DOT Drug Tests.  Any DOT drug tests ordered by Corra Group in behalf of its clients will be conducted according to the new DOT compliance standards.

Are Employees Illegally Downloading Books from the Office Computers?

Tue, October 26th, 2010 - 6:40 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Normally what I write about on this blog concerns background checks and employment screening.    As the Co-Founder of Corra Group I am constantly monitoring news sites and newsletters for interesting stories about background checks and pre-employment screening.   I read blogs that deal with recruiting and employment issues as well as publications that reflect on business in general and the current state of the economy.

But I am also an author.  And as I such I found this posting on CTV.CA, in Edmonton, Canada to be most interesting.  According to the article, Google searches for illegal downloading sites for books and periodicals is up fifty percent.  Like the music industry, the film industry, and other aspects of the entertainment business,  ebooks may now fall prey to freeloading downloaders.    I refrain from railing about it as my laments and admonishment to be better behaved citizens is probably an exercise in futility.   I am aware that copyrights and the copyright infringements is not a major concern for a lot of people, especially in this bad economy.   People want things for free.   They feel entitled and don’t really want to pay the cost.  This holds true for trinkets and baubles, entertainment content, and programs the government may offer.   Nobody wants to pay.

With regard to this article, Attributor created a series of fake download websites and monitored how many people searched these sites for illegal downloads.   It should be noted that out of every five people who came to the site in search of illegal ebook downloads, one of them , or twenty percent, ultimately clicked on a portal that took them to Amazon or another site where they ordered the ebook legitimately.

The company is doing some advanced work so the next time they run this test they can better assess the full extent of ebook piracy and what it may cause in dollar amounts the publishing industry.

As for employers, they not only have to contend with their employees surfing the net, linking to pornography sites, shopping on line, sending questionable emails, and social networking, but they may contend with illegal downloads of music, film, and now ebooks, which could prove embarrassing.  Additionally, the employer may yet be liable should lawsuits arise because of people utilizing the employer computers for illegal downloads.

In all, it is worth noting.

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