Archive for May, 2012

When Employees Lie—or Hide the Truth

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

employment screening, employee background check, pre-employment screeningIf you’re lucky, you have good employees, who are honest and hard working. They don’t steal from you and you can always count on them to tell the truth. Or can you? How do you know for sure if employees are hiding the truth or outright lying, unless you catch them in the act?

Here are some examples of less-than-honest behavior that almost always seem to come to light:

  • An employee sees another worker taking office supplies home, but does nothing.
  • An employee mistakenly breaks a piece of equipment, but he doesn’t admit it or bring it to your attention.
  • An employee sends out a post on Twitter that contains incorrect information, realizes her mistake, but covers it up and doesn’t tell you.

When employees lie or hide the truth, does the problem lie with them or with you? Perhaps it’s a good time to take a long, hard look at your company, and ask a few questions:

  • Why don’t your employees feel safe admitting mistakes or letting you know you’re being cheated?
  • What is your company culture really like?
  • How have these types of situations been handled before?
  • Are employees in fear of retaliation, termination or ridicule?
  • Have you demonstrated trust in your employees?
  • Does management view these types of incidents as the cost of doing business, or as big problems?

If you can honestly say that your company has an open and respective culture, where errors are understood and employees are used to giving and receiving feedback, then these types of incidents might be more of an employee problem.

How would you handle each of the above employee scenarios? The first thing to do is to have a talk with your employee. Clarify what really happened and why she reacted the way she did. If no one was notified, why not? Did she not know the correct procedure? Was she afraid? Explain the acceptable behavior and ask for a commitment that she will follow procedures should another incident occur.

Company cultures are living things that need care and feeding. It’s not enough to simply establish a culture and expect everyone to follow and embrace it forever. Keep working on instituting mutual respect, tolerance and communication to prevent lies and secrets from harming over your company.

Woman Claims She Was Fired Over Living Situation, Sues Employer

Friday, May 11th, 2012

employee screening criminaldata.comA worker fired from her job at a Christian university in Lakewood, Colo. has filed a lawsuit against her former employer. She claims she was let go after administrators asked if she were “living in sin” with her boyfriend.

The woman said she was “shocked” that the school was concerned enough about her personal life to fire her over it. After administrators refused to communicate with her about the issue, she decided to file the suit.

The suit states that an innocent incident of getting coffee with a married male coworker led to the plaintiff being questioned by a university vice president about an “alleged relationship” with the man, as well as questions about her personal life. She claims no relationship existed, but was told she had been seen “laughing and joking” with him. The vice president allegedly went on to say that the fired worker was a distraction to the coworker’s marriage, which would hinder her career at the university.

The university flatly denies the allegations, stating that she was let go “for purely business reasons because she wasn’t doing her job.”

Not so, says the lawsuit. It states that the plaintiff was also retaliated against for her medical problems. She suffered from various issues that required her to request leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. When she met with the human resources department, the director asked her questions directly related to her private life, including whether she lived with and was having sexual relations with her boyfriend. The director stated this would be “potential grounds for termination.”

The employee was approved for FMLA, which she claims is another reason for her dismissal. She also claims the university violated state law for terminating her for lawful activity off premises during nonworking hours (the “living in sin” part).

This could be an uphill battle for the plaintiff; the Supreme Court generally upholds religious institutions’ hiring and firing decisions, based on their beliefs. We’ll keep an eye on this case and report any progress.

When hiring new employees, be sure to conduct proper background screening. The best pre-employment screening process includes employee background checks, employee credit checks, and criminal background checks. You’ll know you’re hiring safe when you screen employees before offering a position.

State Budget Cuts May Lead to Increase in Ex-Convicts Applying for Jobs

Friday, May 4th, 2012

employee screening, employee credit checkAcross the U.S., the economic downturn has been negatively affecting state and local law enforcement budgets. Police and sheriff’s departments have cut staff; jails are laying off guards and prisons are releasing prisoners early because of overcrowding.

For employers who are hiring workers, an increase in ex-convicts in the local population could mean a different type of job applicant. Perhaps this is a good time to review criminal background check procedures.

A variety of state laws make it difficult for regional and national employers to stay compliant, but smaller businesses need to be concerned only with their local and state laws, as well as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines, before deciding what is appropriate for their situation.

The EEOC’s concern is that criminal background checks have a disparate effect on minorities’ hiring history. According to the EEOC, studies show that “some employers make selection decisions based on names, arrest and conviction records…all of which may disparately impact people of color.”

The important thing is that employers are vigilant about doing pre-employment screening and background checks, and to conduct them fairly, as a higher number of unemployed, former convicted criminals are presumably looking for work. Establishing a justifiable business need is the first step. Obtaining applicants’ approval, per the Fair Credit Reporting Act, prior to conducting employee credit checks is also vital to staying within the letter of the law.

Balance your need to keep your other employees, customers and business safe from harm with the rights of your applicants, and exercise good judgment. Remember, 36 states hold employers liable for the negligent hiring of individuals with violent backgrounds.

You can be assured of compliance when you use a reputable, professional employee screening company, such as CriminalData.com. Our extensive experience, secure processes and excellent reputation for professional service mean you may screen prospective employees with confidence.