Corra Daily Planet » 2012 » January

Added Security After a Workplace Shooting

Tue, January 31st, 2012 - 5:37 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Workplace violence is a growing concern, not only in the United States but abroad as well.  Various background checks can help screen out the more volatile candidates prone to commit to workplace violence, but because violence can be brought on through external factors as well as internal actions, employment screening background checks can only go so far towards prevention.

I have written about workplace violence on numerous occasions.  One such article is entitlted, What’s the Most Violent Job in Seattle

Essentially, companies need to have  effective processing in place so that employees can report  real and potential threats of workplace violence and that clear channels of communications are established.  Getting out in front of workplace violence, where possible, is one of the more effective means of dealing with it.

Here is an interesting excerpt in an article from Associated Press…”Security has been increased at Southern California Edison following a shooting at one of the company’s offices on Friday. That shooting, which took place in the Los Angeles suburb of Irwindale, took the lives of four people and the gunman, who killed himself. A spokesman for Southern California Edison refused to say what new security measures were being put in place in the wake of those shootings or whether the security measures were being implemented throughout the company. Meanwhile, the investigation into the shootings is ongoing. All of the victims of the shooting were supervisors at Southern California Edison, thought it is not clear if any of them directly supervised the shooter.”

Of course this may be perceived as yet one more situation where the gates are closed after the horses are out of the barn.  But then, in fairness, there are numerous incidents of workplace violence that most likely could not have been prevented.  Better to take measures to prevent the next incident than to maintain the status quo.

More Things to Consider When Using Background Checks for Employment Screening

Thu, January 26th, 2012 - 5:07 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Here are more issues to consider regarding how employers can best conduct background checks while observing practices that tend not to discriminate against any job applicants with criminal records.   As the EEOC is increasingly requiring that employers observe certain protocol when reviewing criminal records, it is wise to have set policies and to determine whether the criminal convictions  are truly relevant to the position.

It is also necessary to review the age of the conviction, it’s severity, and whether the job applicant has appeared to have cleaned up his act since his criminal activities.  Simply put, if the employment candidate has convictions in his distant past and background checks reveal he has had not criminal record ever since, then, depending on the records and their relevance, it may be discriminatory policy to deny eligibility for employment, based on those prior criminal records.

How severe were the crimes?  Were they violent crimes?   Do the crimes show relevance to the position being applied for?

Does the candidate pose a potential danger to other employees?

Has the candidate been a productive and contributing member to society?

Is the employer’s current policy a blanket policy and could it be considered discriminatory by the EEOC or other officiating bodies?

Just some thoughts to consider when hiring.


Canadian Researchers to Study the Effects on Males of Workplace Bullying

Tue, January 24th, 2012 - 5:50 am - By Gordon Basichis


Workplace Bullying has been on the increase.  Not only in the United States, but in other countries as well, there are growing concerns about workplace bullying.  Nearly a third of the workplace experiences some form of workplace bullying.  Usually the infliction is psychological and not physical.  Nearly seventy percent of those who report workplace bullying say it comes from their bosses.

I have written several articles on this…one being…Dangers of Workplace Bullying.

Find below some interesting information about the study to be conducted….

According to an article in the Telegraph Journal….

Researchers from Canada’s University of New Brunswick are studying the effects workplace bullying has on men. Lead researcher Judith MacIntosh said that so far the study has found that men are dealing with very similar workplace abuse that women are known to deal with, including psychological harassment. She said the verbal harassment, intimidation, threats and rude comments can lead to an increase in absenteeism, reduced productivity and a high turnover. The high turnover results in increased costs to replace and recruit new employees, MacIntosh said, as well as costs to the company’s reputation. MacIntosh said the study will be ongoing for approximately six months.

Criminal Records Background Checks Are Not a One Size Fits All

Fri, January 20th, 2012 - 5:43 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Criminal records background checks are not a one size fits all.   While most employers do conduct criminal background checks as part of their employment screening program, the idea is to use them wisely.  Wisely, in this case, means don’t be indiscriminate to where you can get yourself in trouble with the  Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).   Pepsi Beverages just found its blanket policy, regarding criminal records background checks, cost them a hefty $3.1 Million in settlement fines.

According to the more recent regulations implemented by the EEOC, a candidate’s criminal convictions must reflect some relevance to the job for which the candidate is applying.  According to the general EEOC guidelines, and I am simplifying, it may not be relevant for a candidate applying for a position in the motor pool, if he was convicted of a non-violent crime.  But a job applicant convicted of financial fraud wouldn’t be eligible for a position in the financial department.

A blanket policy that excludes everyone convicted of a crime is not considered a warranted employment policy.   And, worse, if the applicant was merely arrested or charged, but never convicted, the EEOC has ruled that excluding that candidate from consideration can be discriminatory.    The contention is that many of those with convictions are racial minorities, and therefore such a blanket policy can prove discriminatory.   There is also the matter of the age of the crime, how long ago someone was convicted.  Then consideration should be given for the severity of the crime.

In the recent case where the EEOC sued Pepsico, the article in the Associated Press reports….”

“EEOC officials said the company’s policy of not hiring workers with arrest records disproportionately excluded more than 300 black applicants. The policy barred applicants who had been arrested, but not convicted of a crime, and denied employment to others who were convicted of minor offenses.

Using arrest and conviction records to deny employment can be illegal if it’s irrelevant for the job, according to the EEOC, which enforces the nation’s employment discrimination laws. The agency says such blanket policies can limit job opportunities for minorities with higher arrest and conviction rates than whites.”

This is an imperfect world and there will always be discrimination of some kind.  The trick is to limit that discrimination as best as we humanly can.  And then, sometimes there is overcompensation and the results may appear unfair to the employer.  In all, hiring employees with criminal convictions can best be viewed like a work in progress.  And like all works in progress, we can expect any number of changes.

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