Corra Daily Planet » 2011 » September

DC Background Checks Fall Short for City Employees

Fri, September 30th, 2011 - 5:53 am - By Gordon Basichis

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It seems that many governments, state and local, only start conducting background checks after some scandal makes the news.   Then there are all the embarrassing consequences to say nothing of the liability issues.  Of course the key to background checks is that you conduct comprehensive background checks, review them carefully, and pay heed to any criminal records or other red flags.

In the case of the D.C. Deputy Chief of Staff, there were some glitches.  According to the DCIST,…”But what they missed is likely the problem. As you may recall, Pringle was brought on last week alongside new Chief of Staff Chris Murphy to give Gray’s administration new life. But it wasn’t but a few days before government watchdog Dorothy Brizill filed a complaint alleging that Pringle voted in the District’s September 2010 primary while living in Maryland. Pringle apologized for the error, and Quander told DePuyt that she’d be staying.”

There is now a new move to be sure D.C. employees are “sufficiently vetted.”   Good move.  Governments and public service agencies must satisfy the public trust.  Anything less is a shirking of duties.


Women For Hire Gives Notice of Upcoming Los Angeles Job Fair

Thu, September 29th, 2011 - 5:41 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Genevieve Geaney, on behalf of Women for Hire, will be hosting this notice on Linked in.  We at Corra Group wanted to post it so all those looking for jobs, and there are a few, are aware of this upcoming job fair.  Good luck to all employment candidates.

Women For Hire FREE Career Expo in LA!

Where can you meet top employers, perfect your 30-second elevator pitch on the spot, take in a mentoring session, pump up your resume, practice your interviewing skills and get valuable career advice from Women For Hire CEO Tory Johnson – all in one day?

Mark your calendar: Tuesday, October 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., when Women For Hire returns to Los Angeles at the Four Points by Sheraton LAX, 9750 Airport Boulevard.

Start your day early at Tory’s popular Early Morning Seminar, where Good Morning America’s workplace contributor shares her own fired to hired story, shares her latest tips on the jobs scene and – for women thinking about the world of entrepreneurship – delves into what it takes to start your own business.

Why not ask a friend to join you? Please visit to register!

Women For Hire staffers spent all summer designing a career expo that is so much more than a meet-and-greet with recruiters — a venue for women/by women where you’ll come away feeling better about yourself – and your career path – than you did when you walked in.

You’ll have the opportunity to not only check out a wide variety of companies and jobs but also network with hundreds of other great women — from recent grads, to moms returning to the workforce, to seasoned professionals looking for something new.

Be sure to check out our website <

Core Net Globe Survey On How 9/11 Changed the Workplace

Wed, September 28th, 2011 - 5:39 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Some may argue otherwise, but things have definitely changed in the U.S. since 9/11.  The economy for one thing has pretty much been on the downside.  Some highs, and then the plummet to an economic recession.

I know that most employers conduct more background checks than they used to.   The background checks themselves, and the employment screening in general, is far more comprehensive than it used to be.  And then int he workplace itself, as the CoreNet Global Survey Contends,  the Corporate Real Estate Community (CRE) has increased vigilance after that historic event.   Business disruption planning is much more in the forefront than it had been before.

Here is an excerpt from the Press Release…”Some respondents in the survey indicated a reluctance to lease space in high-rise office buildings, yet nearly all (84 percent) believed that the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site in Manhattan will be a commercial success, and more than 40 percent said that they would consider leasing space at the site.”

Here is the link to the article on Market Watch.

It is well worth reading the article.

When Employment Background Checks Show Criminal Arrests

Tue, September 27th, 2011 - 4:02 am - By Gordon Basichis

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There is a lot of confusion about criminal arrests and how they pertain to background checks and how they may negatively impact a job applicant’s employment prospects.  A recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, written by Andria Simmons further highlighted the confusion and,at times, the injustice or discriminatory practices involved with arrests.

In here article, Simmons writes…”The Georgia Crime Information Center, the database for criminal records maintained by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, adds about half a million arrest records every year, and it maintains a total of 3.3 million criminal records dating to 1972…..A criminal record check will pull up misdemeanor convictions, felony arrests and felony convictions. Many people are surprised to learn that prior felony arrests show up even if the arrest did not result in a conviction….. charges were dismissed or never prosecuted, or if a person was found not guilty at trial, individuals must apply to have their record expunged. The application costs $50 and requires a prosecutor’s approval. The process can take months.”

Of course, Simmons is referring to Georgia, which is appropriate for the Georgia based Atlanta Journal-Constitution.   And the fingerprint processing in the Georgia Crime Information Center will reveal arrests.  Same is true for the FBI Criminal Database or NCIC.    However, most employers conduct state or county criminal searches.  As such there are no arrest records unless the arrested party was further remanded to county court for arraignment and hearing.   Otherwise, the arrest records stay with the police department and typically do not appear in county courts.

In some states you are not supposed to consider either arrest records, expunged records, or cases where the charges were dismissed.   As to the age of a criminal record that an employer may consider, that varies from state to state.   Some states will also prohibit the use of misdemeanor convictions unless the crime is somehow related to the job.   Some states limit the use of first offense criminal records.

While employers can be a little more judicious as to how they consider criminal records, this is, after all, an imperfect world.  Was it not the case, then there would not be convicted felons to begin with.    There are bad examples of over emphasis on ancient criminal convictions, and then there are the employers who are far more analytical  in considering older criminal records.  Emphasis lately seems to be on those employers with blanket policies against hiring convicted felons.

But then as Simmons suggests in her article, employer want to insulate themselves from costly liability issues should a convicted felon act out in the work place.  Bad enough an employee with no offense acts out and resorts to violence or other misbehavior.   But when a convicted felon acts out, the first question, is why did they hire him?   Why wasn’t he checked out?  Where were the background checks on his criminal history?

Also in a tough economy and a highly competitive job market, an employer has pretty much its pick of candidates.  Why would they bother with employment candidates with notably blemished records?  But then someone who was charged with a crime and had the case dismissed, legally, is as innocent and as unblemished as the candidate with no charges against him.  That is the reality.  But sometimes reality doesn’t work as it should.

Unless a person was arrested and convicted of a crime, I really don’t see how arrests should be considered as an obstacle against employment.   I find it difficult to understand why employers can’t overlook dismissed cases, especially when the crime itself is relatively minor or non-violent.    But life is what it is and some have stricter hiring policies than others.  I think the more you try to regulate  the situation and impose laws against certain hiring practices, the more resistance you will find.

Perhaps educating employers is the best way to go.  Have classes highlighting the danger zones and showing as well where ancient prison convictions have little relevance, especially when the job applicant is a productive person with the necessary skill sets.  Tough call, I realize.  But it’s time we made it.

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