Adjustments to Vermont County Criminal Records

Wed, December 14th, 2011 - 2:38 pm - By Gordon Basichis

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For those  employers ordering Vermont country criminal records as background checks for their employment screening program, please take note of the modifications to the reports…

A recent adjustment to our Vermont Search provider has resulted in a minor change to how we report “Consecutive Cases” found in Vermont.

Consecutive cases are found within the “Lead” case docket, as the court does not index consecutive cases separately.  Previously consecutive cases were reported as additional counts within the Lead case.  Going forward we will be reporting these consecutive cases as separate cases instead of counts.   Based upon this change, you may now find additional case(s) reported then were supplied previously.  All charge and sentencing detail should remain the same; you will simply receive an increase in case numbers.

Don ‘t Let the Penn State Sex Scandal Happen to Your Place of Business

Mon, December 12th, 2011 - 5:07 am - By Gordon Basichis

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In some ways avoiding the kind of  abusive and criminal sex practices that have been plaguing Penn State University is a fairly easy task.  It is a matter of conducting background checks not only for pre-employment screening but periodically to determine if your staff has been convicted of any criminal and sexual offenses.  But then what about the first timers?  Or, rather, those who were never caught?

Determining whether sex abuses are taking place, particularly in the employment environment is not always an easy task.  If you find candidates or employees on the sex offenders registry, then it’s the employer’s call to make.  But when nothing seems apparent, it becomes perhaps a matter on observing behavior patterns or establishing within your employment organization hotlines and clear channels of communication where other employees can report sexual transgressions or any other criminal malfeasance.

You don’t want your employees to serve as snitches.  And in determining certain behavior characteristics, you certainly don’t want to rush to judgment.   Before accusing an employee of sex offenses you have to be really sure of the evidence.   Evidence of this sort is gathered over time.  But the basis of that information is often tips provided by fellow employees.   Fellow employees are often disturbed by illegal behavior, but unless there is a clearly outlined system for reporting abuses, most will remain silent.  As a result employee morale tends to suffer and there is much consternation that justice is not being served.

The Penn State sex scandal comes to mind because it is very much in the news and renders this subject open for discussion.   It is also a despicable act and the fact sex abuse was allowed to go on for so long makes it that much more reprehensible.   Add to it all that the suspected offender was using a children’s non-profit group to go trawling for his victims elevates factors concerning the premeditation and the elaborate scheming to ruin children’s lives for one’s own personal pleasure.

There is the issue at Penn State that certain staff members witnessed the illegal sexual activity and did nothing about it, or half-heartedly reported it to the school hierarchy without insisting it be investigated further.  In some states, like California, the fact that certain staff members failed to report it to law enforcement authorities makes them potentially criminally liable.  In Pennsylvania, as the law is described, this would not necessarily be the case.  So it is.    But, clearly mentioning it to the school hierarchy failed to inspire the kind of investigation necessary.   The suspect was allowed to continue raping and committing sex acts with underage children with relative impunity.

Now all this is bad enough.  But over dinner the other night, a friend and sports jock well into his middle age, told us that he heard talk about sexual improprieties.  While he played sports at Penn State and was somewhat affiliated still with its sports program, he hadn’t been on the campus for dozens of years.  Yet, he heard talk.  So if the whispers were loud enough to reach California, then most probably more than the few who came forward had heard talk at State College, PA, where Penn State is located.

So, again, it is a matter of establishing clear communications channels for reporting malfeasance in the workplace.  Reporting criminal offenses this severe, especially, should be encouraged.  The policy and procedure for reporting such offenses should be clearly outlined in the employee manual.     Before your place of business suffers the consequences of Penn State’s incompetent approach to this matter, get out in front of the problem.

As a background checking service, we can offer insight how hiring and continuing to employee sex offenders can be deleterious to the workforce.  Not only does office morale tend to drop, but fellow employees can become fixated on the issue.  If the employer doesn’t take action, then certain employees feel that they should take it upon themselves.  I guess this was definitely not the case in relation to the staff at Penn State.  And for that, the school will pay the price.

For Penn State, this is something that will not go away anytime soon.  As a result of this case, parents may prevent their children from going to the school.  This can result in a possible brain drain and a loss of revenue. For a university that prides itself on its sports program, especially football, recruitment may decline.  Donations from alumni and others may also diminish.  And the staff in place most live with the fact their silence resulted in the ruining the lives of dozens of kids.

I would venture this is tragic.  But more than tragic, this is too disgusting to dwell on its tragedy.   This episode could have been prevented.  But clearly, the athletic staff, especially, may have had their thoughts on other priorities.   Perhaps it was the code of protecting one of their own.  Even if he turns out to be a pervert.   Just grand.

 

e-Verify Popular with California Employers

Fri, December 9th, 2011 - 5:16 am - By Gordon Basichis

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California Employers are embracing the E-Verify or I-9  as a background check in order to determine which job applicants are eligible to work in the United States.  With all the rancor about undocumented workers, or illegal immigrants, call it what you want, many savvy employers are looking to avoid government crackdowns  by employing E-Verifying.  In some states those employers who wittingly hire undocumented workers can have their businesses fined, or in extreme cases can lose their business licenses.

According to an article in the  MercuryNews.com…”As a growing number of states require public and private employers to use E-Verify, California has gone out of its way to make it voluntary, passing a law this month that bans local governments from forcing firms to use electronic verification.

Still, the number of California job sites using E-Verify to scrutinize their workers — usually on the first few days on the job — increased by 37 percent to more than 90,000 from a year ago, according to government records. The state has more job sites using the electronic verification system than any other.”

Employers should be aware that employers must first offer the candidate the job before conducting the E-Verify or I-9.  However, employers can conduct the Social Security Trace as a preemployment screening background check in order to determine if the job applicant would be eligible to work in this country.

The Economy is Down But Workplace Ethics Are Up

Thu, December 8th, 2011 - 5:43 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Here is encouraging news.  Despite the economic downturn, ethical behavior in the workplace has not declined.  In fact, it may have even improved.    In a sense it could be said that hard times bring out the better nature in workers.  Maybe it’s the shared uncertainty and economic adversity, coupled with the need for commiseration.  It’s hard to say.

But according to an article by Dennis O’Reilly on CNET.com, “Forty-nine percent of respondents to the 2009 survey witnessed some form of unethical behavior at work in the prior 12 months, down from 56 percent of respondents to the 2007 ERC survey. It’s not surprising that misuse of company resources was the most common act, reported by 23 percent of the respondents.”

Those who did witness unethical behavior or reporting it more frequently.   The number of employees who observed unethical behavior and reported it increased by some eight percent.

Unethical behavior includes, email and Internet abuse, abusive behavior toward co-workers,  lying to employees,  conflicts of interest, and racial and sexual discrimination.

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