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.

Corra Group Discounts Employment Screening Packages to American Businesses

Tue, October 18th, 2011 - 5:01 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Our latest press release….

Corra Group is offering discounted employment screening packages to businesses interested in generating employment in the United States. The background screening company has for a limited time reduced pricing for its background searches in order to encourage companies to expand their production of goods and services within American borders.

 

For the full article go to this link on PRWEB.

Are Employment Interviews a Waste of Time?

Mon, October 17th, 2011 - 4:11 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Recruiters and Human Resources Managers often debate the value of interviews, especially the multiple and repeated interviews where you have the employment candidate back  again and again to talk to one executive or another.  There are the phone interviews, the group interviews, the one on one interviews.   There are interviews about skill sets, interviews to determine if the candidate is a decent fit for that particular employment culture.

So at what point are interviews, if ever, are sufficient to determine who makes for the best candidate?   Are too many interviews merely justification and peer reinforcement rather than actual significant gleaning of information?  I don’t know, really.  I have heard both sides of the issue.  But then I am co-founder of a background checking service.  We conduct employment screening,after the recruiter determines a viable candidate.  I have never been a recruiter or a human resources manager.  So I will leave the determination of the value of interviews up to the people who do it day in and day out.

However, I did find this article of interest.  It was written by Kevin Wheeler and was posted on ERE.net.  It is entitled, Why Interviews Are a Waste of Time.  I found it entertaining and thought others will find it worth reading.

Ilinois School District Wants State to Mandate Background Checks for Teachers

Fri, October 14th, 2011 - 5:14 am - By Gordon Basichis

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With all the talk about children’s safety and the general concern for their well being, I am always surprise when school boards and public service agencies are reluctant to conduct background checks on their staff and teachers.  Many school boards and public service agencies act as if it was some type of insult to ask their personnel to submit to background checks.  So the rhetoric about the need to protect our children and the tangible means to do so will often come into conflict.

Of course, once there is a glaringly sensation incident where a school teacher or a staff member attacks or molests a child or for that matter a fellow staff member, the powers that be then do their best to look like they have sprung into action.  Too late, of course.  Sensational incidents usually encompass subsequent lawsuits and a bushel of public embarrassment.   You just hired a creep, even a former convicted creep, who just did something terrible under your watch.

On the other hand, Illinois  Orland School District 135 school board members are requesting  the Illinois Association of School Boards to adopt a policy for background checks for school board members.While the school board already does mandate background checks for their teachers, bus drivers, janitors, etc, the actual board members are not compelled to submit to background checks.  This,I assume, would encompass the background checks for criminal activity, from sexual assault to embezzlement.   Chances may be slight, even, but these things have been known to happen.

This request comes at the heels of a similar ruling in New Jersey.   In that state, Governor Chris Christie signed into law the statute requiring  public school board members must get background checks.  The new law disqualifies anyone who has been convicted of certain crimes.

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