Author Archives: Sean

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Virginia’s Statewide Criminal Database Recently Revealed to be Missing More than 750,000 Records

A recent review of Virginia’s Central Criminal Records Exchange revealed that more than 750,000 records were missing from their database. The Central Criminal Records Exchange is a resource that’s used by agencies and employers nationwide to determine, among other reasons, whether or not their subjects are eligible for a job or to purchase a firearm. The system, which is managed by the Virginia State Police, had omitted multiple serious cases including 300 murder convictions, 4,600 felony assault convictions, and 1,300 rape convictions.

It’s important to know exactly what to expect out of a criminal record check when you order a search for one of your candidates. A statewide record check generally casts a wide net at a reasonable price, but at the expense of varying degrees of quality as shown here. Not all local agencies reliably report case information to state agencies and this can result in incomplete records, or no records at all, being entered into their databases.

However, state agency databases are not the only sources of criminal records; an industry standard alternative is to run countywide checks. These searches, while narrowing the scope of the request, can yield more detailed records. Running a countywide search in conjunction with a statewide check can help ensure you’re receiving a comprehensive criminal history report!

The good news is that if you’re a CRC client, you don’t have to worry about the missing database records! Our compliance team has analyzed each state’s repository’s turnaround time, scope, availability of records, and special requirements so databases such as Virginia’s Central Criminal Records Exchange are not utilized. Instead, we have a list of approved states where statewide criminal searches can be conducted without the addition of a countywide check.

Update – 01/09/2019: The Virginia State Crime Commission (SCC) recently provided recommendations to remedy the issues that led to the Central Criminal Records Exchange database’s missing records. In addition to providing steps to make the appropriate internal policies and procedures updates to complete the database, the SCC also suggested that gaps in the law could be amended to account for finger printable offenses moving forward. According to the SCC, about 90 percent of the 750,000 missing records lacked fingerprints while around 10 percent were missing due to other errors. As there is no current timeline on when the SCC’s recommendations will be implemented, countywide searches continue to be the most comprehensive source for records in that Virginia. We will continue to monitor these database developments and post updates as they’re received.

Do you have any questions about the differences between a statewide and countywide search or are you interested in running background checks with CRC? Are you a current client who would like more information about our Approved States list? Give us a call at (877) 272-0266 and we can help!

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Amazon Faces Class Action Lawsuit due to Alleged Discrimination During Employment Screening

Category : Legal

Amazon is facing a class action lawsuit from multiple former employees due to the effects of an updated background screening policy. The lawsuit alleges that Amazon terminated each of the complainants based on the results of their background checks without considering how the criminal history information affected the employees’ job responsibilities. Furthermore, the plaintiffs state that Amazon violated federal and state anti-discrimination laws as the policy had a disparate impact on Black and Latino employees.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), disparate impact is defined as an employer’s neutral policy (ex. Excluding applicants from employment based on certain criminal conduct) having a disproportionate impact on individuals protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and that the policy may violate the law if it’s not job related and consistent with business necessity. Assuming that current incarceration rates remain unchanged, about 1 in 17 White men are expected to serve time in prison during their lifetime; by contrast, this rate climbs to 1 in 6 for Hispanic men; and to 1 in 3 for African American men. Thus, a program that excludes applicants based solely on the presence of a criminal record without assessing the effects the record has on the position can open organizations to EEOC Title VII enforcement action and litigation.

The EEOC recommends that companies establish a screening process that includes an individualized assessment to minimize the risk of employing a discriminatory policy. An individualized assessment provides the applicant with the opportunity to explain the circumstances pertaining to a criminal offense and also gives the employer the information needed to assess the potential risk that the applicant may present to their organization. If the applicant does not respond to the assessment, the organization would still have met their responsibilities under the EEOC’s guidance. Working with an accredited Consumer Reporting Agency that understands the EEOC and provides helpful resources can help your organization avoid the same pitfalls other companies have experienced.

Click the links below to read more about this story as well as the EEOC and their recommendations regarding the consideration of arrest on conviction records in employment decisions!

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Nearly 130 Chicago Public Schools’ Employees Dismissed Due to New Background Screening Policies

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has reevaluated their background screening policies to address safety concerns that their previous guidelines allegedly missed. As a result of these updated rescreening policies, nearly 130 employees have been terminated, recommended for dismissal, or have resigned. While CPS hasn’t notified IL’s Board of Education that the dismissals were related to abuse or neglect, it should be noted that schools do not have to tell the board the reason they are referring an educator for misconduct if the dismissal is not related to these two factors.

Cases like this demonstrate the importance of establishing detailed and compliant rescreening policies for your organization. A longtime employee that was hired prior to the establishment of a comprehensive background screening policy could have records you’re not aware of. Furthermore, conducting routine post-hire checks on employees will identify criminal records that occur after the pre-employment check. Choosing an NAPBS accredited Consumer Reporting Agency can ensure you get the information you need to protect your organization.

Click the link below to read more!

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HomeAdvisor’s Background Screening Policies Resulted in a Family Unknowingly Hiring a Contractor With a Criminal Record

A couple in Union County, North Carolina hired a contractor through to conduct renovations on their home. They selected HomeAdvisor since, according to one of the homeowners, “The things I had read on HomeAdvisor’s site were that they had background checked pros in our area that were experienced.” Unfortunately, the licensed contractor they selected eventually abandoned the job after mishandling the renovation. At a later point, the family learned that the contractor had a federal felony conviction from 2014 that should’ve been located on his HomeAdvisor background check and that he was on supervised probation while he was working in their home.

This story demonstrates the importance of understanding what type of background check is conducted on any third parties you work with. Not all background checks are created equal, so the best practice is to determine what (if any) searches are being conducted as well as the scope of these searches. For example, HomeAdvisor’s site states that their criminal background checks consist of a National Criminal Database search for any relevant criminal activity associated with the owner of a business with a three-year scope from their HomeAdvisor membership application date. A National Criminal Database search, while useful for identifying records, is not a comprehensive search since federal records as well as cases in jurisdictions that do not report to these databases would be missed.

Click the link below to read more of this story and reach out to CRC to learn more about what types of searches constitute a comprehensive criminal background check!

  • - (CRC) Fulfills Requirements to Maintain NAPBS Accreditation

CRC is proud to announce that we have successfully fulfilled the requirements to continue in the NAPBS’ Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program! Accredited agencies demonstrate a commitment to legal compliance, consumer protection, and operating at the highest industry standards. This includes completing an interim surveillance audit during the third year of accreditation to ensure that the agency has abided by the Background Screening Credentialing Council’s standards.

As one of the first 100 background screening companies to achieve accreditation status, CRC will continue to provide industry leading screening services to our customers.

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NAPBS Pursues Litigation Against Bentonville Arkansas District Court

Category : Legal

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) is pursuing litigation against the Clerk of the Bentonville Division of the First Judicial District Court of Benton County Arkansas. The NAPBS is alleging that the clerk is using a “gross misinterpretation” of the State’s Supreme Court’s Administrative Order 19 to deny access to publicly available information. The NAPBS is a non-profit trade association that represents over 880 member companies that offer employment, tenant, and volunteer background screening services.

According to the official complaint, the clerk is currently requiring any person seeking individual court records to pay $5,000, complete a “Compiled Records License Agreement” and obtain a compiled records license from the Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). The complaint also states that Administrative Order 19 and the compiled records licenses are only to be used for bulk extracts for a large number of individuals and this does not apply to individual case records. Following this type of regulation would make it extremely difficult for background screening companies to remain in compliance with the state’s request and provide screening services for subjects in this area.

Seven of the ten Arkansas courts that were denying public records have restored access, while only three continue denying the NAPBS’ requests: Bentonville, Craighead County-Lake City, and Craighead County – Jonesboro Division. Whether the NAPBS will consider filing a complain against both Craighead courts remains to be seen.

Click here to review the Arkansas State’s Supreme Court’s Administrative Order 19

Click here to review the official complaint