Think about your employees. In their simplest form, they’re human capital that you can leverage to make money for your company. But on down the line, the people you hire are more than just a means to an end (profit) and perhaps, if you’ve hired well, a guiding force for you company, they are also an extension of your business and a reflection of what you value as a company…and maybe even as an individual.
In this day and age, employee screening services are as much a necessity as having an employee bathroom or lunchroom for your people. And it’s not just to protect your company but the valuable people you have working for you as well.
Let’s take a sample look at what can happen without a qualified employee screening service in place to check prospects.
The first and most commonly looked at problem lies with hiring someone who has a violent past. If you fail to do the work to find out exactly what your prospect’s background looks like, you can pay the price…perhaps losing a valuable employee who comes under attack via the violent offender…perhaps being sued by an employee who suffers a physical attack or even someone outside the organization who happens to come in to contact with this person while on the job or under your supervision. Obviously, any of these circumstances can be hazardous and detrimental to a large or medium business…and perhaps even the kiss of death to a small business.
The second area where you can be hurt is via internal theft and misrepresentation. If a prospect you hire has had go-arounds with previous employers involving the pilfering of funds or equipment and you don’t do the due diligence to ensure that those you hire have clean backgrounds in regards to theft crimes against employers…there is no one to blame but yourself.
Here’s something that needs to be considered when looking at putting an employee screening service in place for your business…it’s easy—heck…a partial screen can be done by any admin or even by the owner of the company just by doing a simple online search of the prospects name. Often times, something of there background will come through in the first five pages…if there’s something large and looming that could lead to disastrous consequences for your business.
Employee screening services are plentiful and not cost prohibitive, so the recommendation is to use them. They can do criminal and credit backgrounds along with previous employment screens so you know that the person you interview is, undoubtedly, the person you hire and that they can be trusted with your company…leaving you to focus on the work at hand.
One caveat to employee screening, which in and of itself can create a moral dilemma for the prospective hiring company. There may come a time when someone comes in and is supremely qualified for the job yet has something in there background that sets off red flags. It’s the whole idea of the second chance, which can often fall prey to a company that has too stringent of an employee screening process, thus eliminating candidates that could be a perfect, and productive, fit for their business.
The computer age has opened up so many technological windows for both personal enjoyment and business ease. Where the Internet has made going to places you’ve never heard of as simple as clicking the mouse, it’s also opened up an information portal the likes of which this world has never seen.
Today’s businesses rely on the power of technology for everything from getting work done and communications streamlined to promoting their companies and…more and more…protecting their employees, assets, clients and company good standing. Background checks are no longer reserved for government positions and companies that have large finances…they’re now available to every size employer and they are changing the way businesses conduct the business of hiring.
There’s a common statistic out there that estimates that 4 out of every 10 resumes a company receives for an open position contain some type of inaccuracy, everything from criminal backgrounds all the way to falsified employment histories.
The ease of the modern background check has made finding out everything about a prospective employee staggeringly simple. Either through one of the many online resources, or via a provider of corporate investigation services, employers can access a wealth of virtual information on a employee, the background check making it less risky for companies to hire a given individual.
There are a variety of things that a corporate investigation service running background checks will look for with a given employee.
Accurate work history: This includes previous employment dates, which can also be verified to some extent through the prospective employees pay stubs. Inaccuracy in work history when applying for a job can be a big red flag that the candidate is not being entirely truthful. And if not truthful on the application, how truthful will they be as an employee.
Running the social security number: Social security can be used in a number of ways to ascertain information about a job candidate but is mainly used to verify the prospects legal right to work in the United States.
Accurate educational background check: Ensuring that a prospective employee is being truthful about their past educational experience is another important step that a corporate investigative service will provide. Much like work history, inaccuracies when disclosing education can signal underlying honesty issues.
Criminal background: Perhaps the place where prospective employees try to hide their history the hardest during the application process is when it comes to criminal involvement. Those with records will be discovered as a corporate investigative service background check will run back up to 7 years, disclosing everything criminal from all the jurisdictions that the prospective employee has inhabited over that time.
Background checks can be used in very positive ways for employers. The idea that you can firmly tell your workers that they are being protected by the measures you are taking in screening new potential employees is just one of the many bright spots for company’s who use corporate investigation services. Yet another is in the case of a school, hospital, daycare, or any type of company where clients need the peace of mind of knowing that the people entrusted with the care of their loved ones are reliable, honest individuals and have proven so through the use of a background check.
Of course, with anything as intrusive as a background check, there are going to be some negatives that come along with the positives. A background check, can be seen as an act of initial distrust from a potential employer, however the process has become so commonplace that this stigma is rapidly disappearing. Perhaps the biggest drawback of a background check is that it eliminates candidates for a job…some of them with excellent qualifications but past blemishes that a computer searching through their data will never give the benefit of the doubt to.
by Robert Capwell
Credit Reports Can Be An Important Element Of Background Screening
Credit reports are a critical element of the background screening process for many employers. Banking, finance, security, public safety and pharmaceuticals are just a few industries that rely heavily on credit reports for making a hiring decision as an indication of integrity and stability. Consider a candidate for a government position who has defaulted on a government backed student loan or possesses tax liens against them. What about an employee that has fiduciary responsibility over company funds, check writing authority, or access to large amounts of cash? Consider an employee that is granted a company credit card and struggles to manage their own personal credit within acceptable limits. What about an employee that has access to customer credit card information or confidential consumer information which could lead to potential identity theft? A credit report may give insight into a candidate’s stability and trustworthiness for a specific position, although there is no proven correlation to a candidate’s credit score and their ability to perform a job. For that reason, a credit score is not part of an employment credit report.
Proper use of a credit report within the hiring decision process is imperative to avoid discrimination and legal liability. Each should be reviewed on an individual basis and employers should provide a candidate/employee with an opportunity to respond to derogatory information found within their credit history, since many times there are unavoidable circumstances which lead to poor credit. Create a policy that is consistent when using credit reports as part of the screening process and be aware of restrictions within your state.
Individual States That Restrict Credit Report Use
A few states have considered, or passed, legislation that provides specific language around the use of credit reports for employment purposes. Employers need to be sure that their hiring, retention, and promotion practices fall within these guidelines. Below is a sampling of state by state considerations as of September 1, 2011. It is important that you stay current on new developments through your HR legal counsel as state and federal legislation is constantly changing. Please also be aware that legislation in Maryland and Connecticut will take effect on October 1, 2011.
Colorado Voted Down Legislation - State of Colorado House Committee has voted down legislation that would have prohibited employers from utilizing consumer credit information for any type of general employment purpose including hiring, promotion, reassignment or retention. As proposed, Colorado House Bill 1127 specified that employers could not use consumer credit reports unless it was substantially “job-related”, and the employee would have access to money, other assets, trade secrets or other confidential information; or included specific positions as defined by the bill.
California Active Legislation - Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 22 on October 10, 2011. The new guidelines go into effect January 1, 2012, and employers in California may only use a consumer credit reports for employment purposes if the report is sought for one of the following: (1) A managerial position; (2) A position in the state Department of Justice; (3) A sworn peace officer or other law enforcement; (4) A position for which the information contained in the report is required by law to be disclosed or obtained; (5) A position that involves regular access to confidential information ( credit card account information, Social security number, or Date of birth); (6) A position which the person can enter into financial transactions on behalf of the company; (7) A position that involves access to confidential or proprietary information; or (8) A position that involves regular access to employer, customer, or client cash totaling $10,000 or greater during the workday. Please be aware that there are additional provisions regarding written disclosure, a check box available for the applicant to request a copy of their report at no additional charge, and disclosure of reasons for obtaining such information on the applicant.
Connecticut Active Legislation – Senate Bill 361 will prohibit most employers from utilizing applicant and employee credit reports for employment decisions effective October 1, 2011. The law specifies employers may not require an employee or prospective employee to consent to a request for a credit report unless: (1) such employer is a financial institution, (2) such report is required by law, (3) the employer reasonably believes that the employee has engaged in specific activity that constitutes a violation of the law related to the employee's employment, or (4) such report is substantially related to the employee's current or potential job or the employer has a bona fide purpose for requesting or using information in the credit report that is substantially job-related and is disclosed in writing to the employee or applicant. The law defines credit report information as “substantially related” and provides scenarios for various positions.
Hawaii Active Legislation - House bill 31(HB31 CD1) became law on July 15, 2009, overriding Governor Lingle’s veto. This law establishes employer's use of an individual's credit history in hiring and termination decisions as an unlawful discriminatory practice, provided that the individual's credit information directly relates to a bona fide occupational qualification, and that employers are expressly permitted to inquire into credit history for employment purposes pursuant to any federal or state law. The bill also provides notable exemptions to the legislation.
Illinois Active Legislation - Illinois State Governor Pat Quinn has signed the Employee Credit Privacy Act (HB4658) into law. Effective January 1, 2011, Illinois employers and agents of employers may not “discriminate against an individual with respect to employment, compensation, or a term, condition, or privilege of employment because of the individual's credit history or credit report” or “order or obtain an applicant's or employee's credit report from a consumer reporting agency.” The law applies to all Illinois-based employers of any size; however, provides exceptions for use within specific industry and for certain positions.
Maryland Active Legislation - the Maryland Job Applicant Fairness Act was signed into law on April 12, 2011, and the new law restricts employers from using an applicant/employee's credit report or credit history in determining whether to deny employment; discharge an employee; or determine compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment. This law goes into effect on October 1, 2011, and specifies that the employer may request or use the applicant/employee’s credit information after the applicant has received an offer of employment and if the employer has a substantially job-related bona fide purpose for requesting or using information in a credit report or credit history. Under the act, a position for which an employer has a substantially job-related bona fide purpose for requesting or using information in a credit report or credit history includes a position that is qualified for credit report use.
Oregon Active Legislation – As of March 29, 2010, Oregon Senate Bill 1045 was signed by Governor Kulongoski and went into effect July 1, 2010. This bill places additional restrictions on the use of credit reports, and prevents employers from utilizing credit reports for employment, including hiring, discharge, promotion, and compensation unless the credit report use is "substantially job-related". There are also exceptions under this new law for certain industries or positions.
Washington Active Legislation - The state of Washington amended existing legislation with RCW 19.182.020. An immediate effect of this legislation revolves around the use of amended forms and the ability for WA employers to communicate the reasons that a credit report is substantially related to a particular job. Under this amended Washington Law, employers cannot obtain a credit report as part of a background check unless the information is substantially “job related” and must include the employer’s reason for use and be disclosed in writing. The use is also acceptable if required by law.
Even with only a few states weighing in on the use of credit reports, all current, pending and even vetoed legislation address the critical need for proper use, and the valuable resource it brings to employers. CSC provides this information as awareness to current trends and issues within the background screening industry; however, this information should not be taken as legal advice as it relates to the proper use of credit reports.
Employer Resources For Consumers
The following are additional resources that provide consumers guidance with Federal law and guidelines around credit reports and their rights.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
FTC – Consumer Credit Information
Yearly Credit Report Review
For the past several years, CSC has protected many of the Bay Area's largest commercial companies from sustaining any job site theft at all with our wireless burglar alarm
system called "The Snitch
During the previous 18 months or so, copper thefts had been slowing declining in the Bay Area. However, according to many local Bay Area police departments, copper thefts are again on the rise and vacant commercial buildings are once again prime targets for thieves to attack.
Case in point, just this week, an attempted copper theft incident occurred at a CSC client's building in Fremont. That building is protected by The Snitch, which helped catch the thieves in the act and prevented any theft from occurring at the client's location.
Specifically, two suspects broke into the vacant building in broad daylight with the intent of stealing copper metal and steel piping from the walls and corral areas - potentially costing the client tens of thousands of dollars. The moment the burglars made entry into the building, The Snitch system alerted the CSC security team and a CSC officer responded to the scene within 15 minutes. Once on-scene, the CSC officer observed the thieves cutting the copper and steel piping with bolt cutters and loading it onto a flatbed truck. CSC immediately alerted local Fremont PD and the suspects were arrested on-site.
One suspect admitted to police that the stolen items in the truck were removed from a vacant commercial building in Hayward earlier that day. After finding two receipts in the suspect's pockets, the police further determined the suspects had stopped off at two recycling centers along the way and sold some stolen product between Hayward and Fremont.
Following this incident, CSC reported the details to a local Federal Task Force called REACT that we work closely with. REACT specializes in high tech and metal theft crimes and will use the info we provided to determine a possible connection with any other incidents in the past with a similar method of operation.
This is just one recent account of the very real threats that copper thieves can present to vacant commercial buildings. CSC's Snitch security program can effectively stop these security threats and prevent thefts from occurring at our client's sites. To date, The Snitch has earned a 100% success rate in protecting our client's properties against copper and metal theft, and as a result, we've been able to reduce our client's security costs by as much as $10k/mo, while helping them keep insurance premiums low and increase profits.
Currently, no other Bay Area security company offers any service that matches our Snitch Security Program - and compared to security guard services that can cost thousands of dollars each month, The Snitch can oftentimes provide peace of mind for a fraction of cost. For more info on how the Snitch can protect your business, contact CSC today.
Today CSC launched the Snitch Security Video. It's a 4 min. clip visually describing the theft problems plaguing the commercial real estate sector today, and the reasons why The Snitch Security System is so successful at stopping equipment theft, material theft, copper theft and property damage from occurring at our client's sites.
Check out the video clip when you have a chance! If you have any questions about the Snitch, or want more info on how CSC's state-of-the art wireless burglar alarm system can help solve your security problems, you can request a Free Snitch Demo or contact us anytime at (888) FLAG-CSC.
This week, KGO Radio reporter Leslie Brinkley reported on the rise of copper thefts occuring in the Bay Area now that the price of copper has risen above $3/pound.
The KGO story reported that very recently, four parks in the City of Concord have been stripped of copper wiring, costing the City tens of thousands of dollars. Additionally, the City of Mountain View, and several housing developments in the City of San Jose have also recently reported similar copper theft incidences, as copper thefts are beginning to surge once again in the Bay Area.
CSC copper theft expert, Brian Wall, was featured as a main source for the KGO news report. According to Wall, copper thieves are commonly breaking into vacant commercial budilings and specifically targeting the rooftops of buildings, as the rooftops are among the most vulnerable areas for copper thieves to attack. Wall also said that many unemployed plumbers and electricians are intelligently and systematically conducting the copper thefts because they have inside knowledge to commit the crimes.
CSC's team of copper theft experts are routinely advising companies and public sector organizations on the best solutions possible today to stop copper theft. CSC also offers the Snitch Security System, which is designed specifically to help commercial property managers, building owners and construction sites fend off would-be copper thieves. Developed by leading copper theft experts, The Snitch is CSC's impenetrable and unbeatable wireless burglar alarm system designed specifically to stop copper thieves from attacking commercial sites. It boasts a 100 percent success rate at stopping copper thieves and provides complete protection around the clock to ensure CSC's customer's sites are always secure.
If your business or public sector agency is currently facing copper theft problems, or if you want to prevent these problems from developing in the future, give the CSC copper theft experts a call today at 408-295-2600 or contact us for a free Snitch System demo.
CSC will be attending the 1st Annual Crime Prevention/Safety Fair in Yountville, CA on December 12th. The fair is hosted by the Napa County Sheriff's Problem-Oriented Policing Program and the Town of Yountville.
CSC will be hosting a booth at the event and educating attendees on copper theft, which mainly impacts commercial buildings and construction sites, and photovoltaic theft, which specifically targets the solar panel installations at many businesses and public sector agency buildings.
Copper thefts and Solar panel thefts have been on the rise all over the country lately, and more specifically, these problems have been plaguing the Northern California region within the past few years. Within the Napa Valley and Bay Area regions, solar panel thefts have been a main focus for several wineries and school districts, who have sustained tens of thousands of dollars in lost assets and property damage as a result of thieves ripping off the solar panels from their unprotected buildings.
As more solar panels and copper wiring become stolen, and the problem continues to grow, businesses and government agencies being targeted for the thefts are searching for security solutions specifically designed to help protect their solar panels from thieves.
CSC's Snitch Security System is one of the few answers that exist today for stopping solar panel theft. Uniquely designed to protect anything, anywhere, anytime, The Snitch is a burglar alarm system that's fully capable of stopping copper thefts and solar panel thefts and providing 100% protection.
For those companies and government agencies that have made the investment in solar panel installations, and/or have been targeted for copper theft, practicing risk management and implementing a security solution to protect your investments is probably a good idea. The team at CSC is here to help and will be at the Crime Prevention/Safety Fair this weekend to answer any questions you may have.
The event will be taking place at the Yountville Community Center from 12-4pm and we invite you to attend!
Recently, copper metal prices have soared back up to over $3 a pound. According to many economists and this latest report from CNN, copper metal is a leading indicator of economic recovery because it's used so broadly all over the world. During the recession, there was concern over the drop in demand for copper, but with the economy turning around, copper is back on the rise. Additionally, there's still a great deal of pent up demand for copper from the Chinese market, and economists predict that once this demand opens up, there will be an exponential rise in copper prices.
So what does the rise in copper prices mean for the security of your business? Plenty.
Rising copper prices generally equate to an immediate rise in copper thefts. With copper piping and wiring becoming much more valuable in the open market, copper thieves know they can fetch a hefty price tag for this precious metal in just a few hours time.
At specific locations, such as commercial buildings and construction sites, copper metal can be found in abundance and is relatively easy to steal. Once stolen, it's virtually impossible for authorities to track or recover from recyclers, making copper theft a low-risk, high-profit crime that many copper thieves can't resist.
Within the past year alone, copper thefts have increased in some Bay Area counties by as much as 300%, with two-thirds of these thefts occurring at commercial buildings. With vacancy rates at all-time highs, and copper prices soaring once again, thieves will be stealing more copper and damaging more commercial property at extremely alarming rates. Losses from the copper thefts are costing companies thousands, while costs to repair damaged buildings, missed project deadlines and soaring insurance premiums, some by as much as 500%, are compounding the problem.
Solutions such as CSC's Snitch Security System exist today and are designed specifically to help commercial property managers, building owners and construction sites fend off would-be copper thieves. Developed by leading copper theft experts, The Snitch is CSC's impenetrable and unbeatable wireless burglar alarm system designed specifically to stop copper thieves from attacking commercial sites. It boasts a 100 percent success rate at stopping copper thieves and provides complete protection around the clock to ensure CSC's customer's sites are always secure.
Don't let the recent rise in copper prices put your company's safety and security at risk of being attacked by copper thieves. Contact CSC today for more info on how the Snitch can provide you with complete protection for a fraction of the cost of traditional security measures. You can also download a free CSC webinar on "How to Stop a Copper Thief" and learn cost-effective methods for stopping copper thieves at commercial buildings & construction sites.
CSC's site security & patrol services were selected by the water utilities for a number of reasons, one of which is that CSC is highly capable of providing Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) services to protect their water systems, employees, customers, property and assets from potential threats during all stages of the Department of Homeland Security's threat advisory system. Specifically, CSC is providing cost effective security guards to protect each water utility's various facilities and water treatment plants during normal periods of operation, while also ensuring the highest level of security protection is available in emergency situations.
CSC is well versed in CIP and has helped actively promote the process and apply our knowledge in this area to several private and public sector organizations alike. CIP services are a core-competency among the CSC management staff, and a value added service that we provide to clients as part of our site security and consulting services.
As a result of the extensive law enforcement background, training and security certifications that CSC's management team has collected over the years, we are uniquely qualified to advise both private and public sector organizations on how best to secure the effective protection of mission critical people and systems. While it may be impossible to prevent all attacks against critical infrastructures, CSC understands that CIP can reduce the chances of future attacks, make it more difficult for attacks to succeed, and mitigate the outcomes in the event they do occur.
One of the latest and fastest growing trends among criminals is to target solar panel installations at government and commercial sites.
Known as "photovoltaic theft," thieves are literally ripping off 20-50 solar panels at a time from atop schools, commercial buildings and wineries all over the world. The panels each cost about $1,000 and fetch a few hundred dollars a piece on the black market.
According to this recent article in the WSJ.com, "Stop That (Solar) Thief!," many places in Northern California have been hit especially hard for solar panel thefts, including dozens of wineries in the Napa Valley region and the Pleasanton school district.
As more solar panels are stolen and the problem continues to grow, businesses and government agencies being targeted for the thefts are searching for security solutions specifically designed to help protect their solar panels from thieves. Because photovoltaic theft is a very new and unique type of crime, there are not a wide number of security solutions that exist and currently available on the market today.
However, CSC's Snitch Security System is one of the few answers that exist today for stopping solar panel theft. Uniquely designed to protect anything, anywhere, anytime, The Snitch is a burglar alarm system that's fully capable of stopping solar panel thefts and providing 100% protection.
Originally designed to protect commercial buildings and construction sites from theft and vandalism, the Snitch has been adapted to fit the unique needs of businesses and government agencies desperately needing to protect their solar panel installations. The Snitch can also be configured to run off solar energy, making the solar panel installation and the security system designed to protect it completely energy and cost efficient.
For those companies and government agencies who've made the investment in solar panel installations, practicing risk management and implementing a security solution to protect that investment from photovoltaic theft is probably a good idea. The team at CSC is here to help should you have any questions about taking the necessary steps to protect you from solar panel theft.