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November Newsletter

In This Issue
Verifications: Best Practices
FMCSA Announces Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program
CA Assembly Bill to Eliminate Employment Credit Reports Rejected
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Letter from the President
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As we prepare to give thanks with our families this month, I am increasingly aware of the need to express our thanks in the workplace.  I am grateful for our Ascend Member clients! The number of Ascend Member Hospitals has increIn the health care industry, patients put their lives in the hands of trusted caregivers every day.  The importance of background screening for current and potential health care staff members goes beyond cost, compliance, and legal liability issues.  It can be a matter of life and death.  Thank you for acknowledging this, and for entrusting Private Eyes, Inc. with that service.

I am also thankful for our employees.  Next month the PEI  Newsletter will begin highlighting a different PEI employee every issue.

Healthcare workers continue to be in demand, and we will take a look at a trend that employers need to be aware of in the hiring process.

This issue will also give you some Best Practice Hints on Verifications so that you can continue to attract employees that you are grateful for, not full of regret for hiring. 

Finally, we will highlight two interesting pieces of legislation that are pertinent in our industry:  Employment Credit Reports and FMSCA's new Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program.   

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sandra James
Verifications:  Best Practices
Verifications of applicant provided information are a recommended part of the pre-screening process.  There are actions that you as an employer can take to increase your success in this area.

Provide as much information as possible with your search request.  The full employer or school name, city and state info, name used at the institution, and full contact information are critical.  Clarifying this information prior to passing it on to your pre-employment screening company will help avoid delays in turnaround time. 

Have a signed consent form from the applicant.  Some sources such as educational institutions may require a copy of a "wet" signature (as opposed to an electronic signature) consent prior to releasing information.

Request the level of verification that best fits your needs.
If you are requesting a verification for the purpose of verifying information on an application, have Private Eyes, Inc. or whatever screening company you use conduct a simple or standard verification.  If a candidate's salary or GPA is not important in the hiring process, make sure we are aware of that.  All of this specific information will help turnaround time.

Delays, Exceptions, and Search Complications.  Pre-employment screening companies are subject to the willingness of HR departments, professionals, and employers to return requested information around in a timely manner.  Make sure that you ask what your prospective vendor's standard number of calls is before they close the search.    For example,  Private Eyes, Inc., guarantees that we will follow-up on a verification a minimum of 6 times in 48 hours to ensure a quick turnaround time and success. 

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) provides an objective look at the verification of employment, educational history, and earned credentials/licenses.  To learn more, click here.

Transportation Secretary Announces Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program 
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it will launch a new Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program which will allow commercial motor carrier companies to electronically access driver inspection and crash records as a part of the hiring process.  The program is expected to begin in December 2009. 

"Safety is our number one priority at the Department of Transportation.  This new initiative will help trucking companies ensure the safest drivers are behind the wheel of of commercial trucks and buses," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Making this information more transparent will make our roads and highways safer for everyone." 
By using driver safety information during pre-employment screening, motor carriers will be able to better assess potential safety risks of a prospective driver-employee, and drivers will have additional opportunities to verify the data in their driving history and correct any discrepancies. 

Commercial driver safety records are currently available to federal and state law enforcement personnel, and accessible to drivers through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  Once the pre-employment screening program is launched, driver safety records will be readily available to motor carriers regardless of state or jurisdiction.  In accordance with federal privacy laws, drivers must first give written consent in order for their records to be released.

The Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program will be populated by FMCSA's Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).  The MCMIS is comprised of driver performance data including roadside inspection and compliance review results, enforcement data, state-reported crashes, and motor carrier census data.

Source: "Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program", Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration,

To learn more, click here.
Schwarzenegger Rejects CA Assembly Bill to Eliminate Employment Credit Reports 
Last month, in "Are Credit Reports Relevant in Today's Economy?" we acknowledged that credit reports can be a useful tool used to weed out applicants.  On October 11 2009, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed by vetoing California Assembly Bill 943.  The bill would have prohibited an employer , with the exception of certain financial institutions, from obtaining a consumer credit report for employment purposes.

The governor explained his rationale:  "I am returning Assembly Bill 943 without my signature.  This bill would prohibit the use of consumer credit reports for employment purposes unless the information is either substantially job related, as defined or required by law to be disclosed to or obtained by the user of the report.

This bill is similar to legislation I vetoed last year on the basis that California's employers and businesses have inherent needs to obtain information about applicants for employment and existing law already provides protections for employees from improper use of credit reports.

As with last year's bill, this measure would also significantly increase the exposure for potential litigation over the use of credit checks.

For these reasons I am unable to sign this bill."

This was the second time in two years that the governor has rejected this legislation.  Thank you, Governor Schwarzenegger!

Source:  "AB 943(Mendoza) Employment:  Credit Reports", Consumer Federation of California, 

Sandra James
Private Eyes, Inc.