What to Do For Employment Background Checks, Revisited

Tue, October 25th, 2011 - 5:32 am - By Gordon Basichis

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I thought I would repost this article.  The article is entitled What to Order on Employment Background Checks.   It is a good checklist of how to ascertain what you, the employer, may need for background checks for your employment candidates.

Always remember, what you order for employment screening background checks you order for everyone.  But you can vary the background checks for different levels of hire.  Simply put, for entry level employment candidates you can run one series of background checks.  For mid-management and senior executives you can develop a different background package for employment screening.


Here is the link to the article.

PI Wedding Services–First the Background Check and Then Security

Mon, October 24th, 2011 - 5:08 am - By Gordon Basichis

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I thought this was an interesting article.  Indian Private Detectives are first hired to conduct background checks on the prospective bride or groom.  And then they are asked to provide security at the wedding.  Multitasking romance, as it were.  As Priya M. Menon reports in “Marriages Made in the Detective Office” for The Times of India, the groom’s family had hired him to conduct background checks on the prospective bride.

Apparently, in India background checks on the bride and groom are common practice.  Part of the process is running queries in the newspapers.  And now the families want the PI’s to remain in the process, providing security and performing surveillance, should a jilted lovers decide to take their disappointments out on the wedding.

According to the article…”Agencies like Malathi’s are also getting requests for surveillance during weddings. “If the man or woman has had an affair or was previously married, and families expect them to create trouble during the wedding ceremony, we are called in,” says Malathi, adding that she advises her clients to explain the situation to their prospective in-laws.

“We track down the person concerned a week before and keep a watch on his or her activities,” she says. “On the day of the wedding or reception, we have about 10 to 12 people in the hall and outside to ensure that the function is not disrupted,” says Malathi.

Texas Audit Finds Discrepancies in Its Statewide Criminal Search

Fri, October 21st, 2011 - 5:54 am - By Gordon Basichis

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A recent audit of the Texas Statewide Criminal Search found there was a discrepancy in criminal records.   The Texas Statewide Criminal Database search is the background used by administrators to screen the state’s healthcare workers and educators and various staff members.

According to an article in the Star-Telegram….”Prosecutors and courts have failed to submit to the state disposition records on about one of every four arrests in 2009, the audit found. While that is a slight improvement from a 2006 audit, it still means that the Department of Public Safety Computerized Criminal History System is not a reliable source for complete information, the audit found.”

While there were reported improvements in the accuracy of the database, it was generally agreed the Department of Public Safety criminal records cannot be fully relied upon.   It was also noted, and fairly, that the DPS cannot be expected to be responsible for local and county courts updating their criminal records to the DPC database.

According to the article…’the report notes that 1,634 (7.65 percent) of 21,351 offenders admitted to jail, prison, or probation by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in November 2010 did not have corresponding prosecutor and court records in the DPS system.”

State law requires that the courts and prosecutors submit updated records within thirty days of disposition.    This hasn’t been happening. So…the DPS database system not only becomes sketchy for state administrators conducting background checks but also for employers who are using the DPS Statewide Criminal Records Search for their employment screening purposes.  It looks like it has been prioritized that Texas tighten up the DPS criminal database.   I certainly hope so as otherwise convicted felons may slip through the cracks.



The Ins and Outs of Workers Compensation Background Searches

Thu, October 20th, 2011 - 5:25 am - By Gordon Basichis

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I was just reading an article in the Los Angeles Times where the California State Workers Compensation Insurance Fund is planning to lay off 1,800 employees or thirty percent of its workforce. Tom Rowe, Chief of Staff of the State Compensation Insurance Fund says they are severely overstaffed.  This is the fund that is the insurer of the last resort for California Employers.

According to the article, Rowe was quoted as….

“The positions being eliminated are in areas where business processes have changed significantly enough that work has been substantially reduced,” Rowe said in a companywide email. “We spend more operating the company than we do on benefits to injured employees.”

The layoffs are expected to save State Fund about $350 million a year.”

For sometime the California Workers Comp issue has been a work in progress.  At one time Workers Comp insurance was prohibitively expensive in California.  If it wasn’t killing businesses then it was certainly causing some to consider moving to other states where the insurance premiums were costing a lot less, annually.   But eight years ago, the State of California revised its Workers Comp policies.  Among other things, the State instituted what amount to an HMO where state supported medical care facilities determined the veracity of a workers comp claim and the extent of damage.

Until then, there were many questionable  or outright bogus workers comp claims.  The allegedly injured employees would go to attorneys of questionable discrimination and file claims for extensive injuries that required much compensation and lengthy periods for recuperation.   As the former head of marketing for an investigative group at the time who specialized in workers comp claims, we saw enough sub rosa video where the poor, injured worker who could not lift their arms above their heads were discreetly photographed lifting and moving sofas, playing tennis, uprooting trees from their yards.  Or  secretly working other jobs while they collected money on their workers comp claims.

The California reform reduced workers comp insurance by at least twenty-five percent or more and made it tougher on the suspect employees to prove their cases.  Of course, some attorneys and action groups protested that seriously and honestly injured workers were not collecting the fair share of what they should be compensated for injuries on the job.  In some cases, there was a degree of validity.  In other cases, well…I’m sure you know the story.

When you are conducting background searches as part of your employment screening program, you should be aware that workers comp background searches are not to be used as a pre-employment screening instrument.  You, as  a recruiter or as an employer, may want to determine if your job applicant is prone to filing workers comp claims, if they are prone to actual injury, or as in many cases prone to claiming injury.   But, again, you cannot use workers comp background checks for employment screening purposes.  You must first offer your candidate the position and only then can you conduct a workers compensation search.

But be aware.  With some states it is relatively easy to gain access to an employee’s workers compensation history.   But in other states they can put you through hoops where it may not be worth your while.  In some states, your applicant’s release form is enough to get the ball rolling and the workers comp records will return anywhere from a couple of days to a week.  But…the big but…in other states, you have have to file a special notarized form, or you might have to snail mail your request.  The results are then snail mailed back.  Eventually.  Or, in some states you may not have access at all to your employee’s workers compensation records.

As I more than hinted before…is there much cheating regarding candidate’s and possibly bogus workers compensation claims.  As head of marketing for an investigative group, I once did a brief statistical review of when most claims were filed.  It was skewed so that a great many more workers comp claims were filed in the spring and summer months when the weather was nicer.   I guess you can take it from there.

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