Tag Archives: background checks
From the New York Times: Legal experts say that the practice probably does not violate discrimination laws because unemployment is not a protected status, like age or race.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently held a hearing, though, on whether discriminating against the jobless might be illegal because it disproportionately hurts older people and blacks.
Some states, such as New Jersey, are already passing laws to prevent employers from posting job ads that bar unemployed candidates from even applying.
However, even in job candidates aren’t being initially disqualified because of their unemployment status, they are being disqualified due to credit or other background checks required by the company.
“I worry that unemployment may eventually come down, not because older workers who have been unemployed for a year or two find jobs,” Professor Shimer, a labor economist at the University of Chicago, said, “but because older workers finally give up and drop out of the labor force.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents visited 20 to 25 outlets in several states, and had interviewed supervisors and investigated their legal paperwork including I-9 forms.
According to the Wall Street Journal article, the ICE has been investigating Chipotle for a while now. Last December, for instance, Chipotle laid off more than 400 workers in Minnesota immediately following an Immigration and Customs Enforcement audit on their employee records. Particularly, these federal audits require the employer to provide I-9 forms to attest each worker’s eligibility status in the U.S.
“If agents are interviewing workers at stores, clearly they are looking for information that goes beyond the I-9 audits,” said Victor Cerba, a former general counsel at ICE who is now a partner at Jackson Lewis LLP. “An audit can be a purely paper process when there is nothing unusual with the company.”
Actually, 87% of organizations report that they allow job candidates, in certain circumstances, the chance to explain results, according to a 2010 Human Resource Management study. Not to mention that a large majority of employers and HR don’t have the financial resources to do credit checks on every single employee.
“Typically the credit check is not for all jobs,” says Tony Deblauwe, founder of the human resource consultancy company HR4Change, and author of “Tangling with Tyrants: Managing the Balance of Power at Work.”
“Usually there has to be a reason, such as the job is in finance, or an executive level job with profit and loss responsibility.”
Employers Don’t Have the Approach of Lenders
Employers do tend to refer to credit reports for similar reasons to lenders; however, for HR, the credit report is only a small part of the evaluation of an individual.
Not only have that, but employers and HR professionals scanned a longer period of history in a credit assessment.
In the HR study, for example, most organizations focus on credit history of four to seven years overall. So even if the recession brought a little bit of hardship on a potential candidate, there should be room to investigate a person’s broad range of financial responsibility.
Reported by USA Today last week, half of the nation is battling over whether they should limit the use of credit checks by employers. The majority of these bills came out as a response to the pressures of the recession on American workers. Should Workers Be Judged by Their Creditworthiness? Many states are seeing the decline in credit status among their residents, either because companies were forced to conduct major layoffs or individuals endured foreclosures all of a sudden in 2008-09. “There is also concern about fairness”, says Beth Givens, director of the non-profit advocacy group Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. “Using a credit report to make a hiring decision is essentially making a value judgment,” says Givens. “The employer is saying, ‘I think you’re an irresponsible and careless person because you have a bad credit report.’” Some employers oppose the bills, because they (and their HR departments) use credit reports to decide if a job applicant was financially responsible while they were employed. This is particularly a crucial factor with jobs that require individuals to handle money on a daily basis. A research analyst from Unite Here, a hospitality labor union, points out that employers use credit reports while filling low-paying jobs with low-income workers of color. “Hiring tools that have a discriminatory impact should not have any part in our economic recovery.” Read the USA Today article
Image: worradmu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Just this week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a new, innovative system where individuals can self-check their employment eligibility instantly online. The E-Verify Self-Check system is being piloted in Arizona, Colorado, District of Columbia, Idaho, Mississippi, and Virginia, and will soon become available in more states.
E-Verify is officially operated by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services Agency with the Social Security Administration. It allows any employee or job seeker to look up their work eligibility, and human resources and employers can submit a SSN for a job applicant to quickly verify their information during the selection process.
How It Works
Once an individual SSN is entered into the online system, it is matched against the DHS and SSA databases. It first prompts the individual to submit a name, birth date, and address; confirm his or her identity by answering demographic and financial questions; and enter a Social Security Number, and if appropriate, an Alien Registration number. If it returns a match, then the person is deemed eligible. Without a match, there are additional investigative procedures that will follow.
In 2008, the E-Verify program first became required for federal contractors and other employees who must be proven eligible before they are hired. Last year, there were a total of 220,000 participating employers using E-Verify Self-Check.
According to DHS, Self-Check queries are not shared with users’ employers or prospective employers, nor will they affect a user’s credit score. Also, DHS is notified every time that a user’s identity is verified using the system.