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Trending Discussions in Employment Screening Webinar

Employers conducting employment background screening will need to keep compliance top of mind in 2017. Regulatory oversight, the growing number of class-action lawsuits, and the threat of data breaches all make it a good time to touch base on the trending topics impacting screening programs and practices. With this in mind, Peopletrail released a webinar entitled, Trending Discussions in Employment Screening.

Here are six topics we covered:

1.   The Most Important Background Checks an Employer Can Conduct

Many employers rely on simple criminal background checks when hiring. In many instances, employers ignore the most telling information by only conducting a criminal background check. A simple criminal check does not verify an employee’s most important information.

An estimated 45% of all resumes contain at least one major fabrication. Lies from an employee can potentially mean danger. Employers can’t find danger from an employee’s criminal past alone. In our webinar, we’ll discuss the range and depth of background checks.

2.   The Rise of Post-Hire Screening

Threats such as embezzlement, theft, fraud, and even active workplace violence can spring from employees at all levels. If an employee commits a crime, their employer might not know until it is too late—unless they perform a post-hire screen.

In our webinar, we’ll discuss how post-hire screening helps secure a workplace and reinforces screening policies.

3.   The Limitations of Screening Employees for Prescription Drugs

The fastest growing drug problem in the U.S comes from the abuse of prescription drugs. Prescription drugs often negatively impact workplace safety. Yet the law limits an employer’s ability to question an employee’s medication use. In many cases, the government protects users of prescription medications under the American’s with Disabilities Act and Health Privacy Laws.

Furthermore, the laws around prescription drugs may obscure the results of a simple drug test because the presence of a substance does not constitute an offense. Learn more how employers can still keep the workplace safe from prescription drug abuse in our webinar.

4.   Common Flaws in Employer Drug Testing Programs

Weak drug testing programs can fail to detect illegal drug abuse, and that puts your company at risk. Companies must check their drug screening policies and the programs they use. Not only will this keep your company compliant, it will also strengthen your drug screening process.

A strong drug screening process means that employers need to understand the regulations that could affect a drug screening program. Learn more about how to avoid the pitfalls of drug testing programs in the webinar.

5.   The Most Common 1-9 Compliance Mistakes

The rules of filling out an I-9 form are enough to warrant a how-to manual and training course. In addition to figuring out the details of 1-9, the responsibility lies with employers to collect and maintain correct information. Employers that fail to complete or maintain correct documentation also meet harsh financial penalties.

In our webinar, we’ll discuss how to simplify 1-9 compliance and learn to avoid common mistakes.

6.   The Risks of Using Social Media to Screen Candidates

Nearly one-third of employers have ruled out an applicant based on information they found on social media. Viewing public profiles can provide employers with a lot of relevant insight on candidates. However, this practice puts you at risk for workplace discrimination in certain cases. Some states have even banned employers from requesting access to applicant and employee social media.

When deciding how to use social media screening, the risks versus rewards may cause some confusion. The webinar provides more guidance on social media screening.

To view the webinar, click here

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Post-Hire Screening: Answers to A Safer Workplace

One out of every one-thousand employees are arrested each month, but only a quarter of their employers will know about it. Employers may try to skip post-hire screening, but the potential risks leave your workplace dangerously exposed.

Throughout 2016, the Endera Insider Risk Survey analyzed hundreds of businesses to learn how they use data to respond to internal threats. The most serious blind spot—the absence of monitoring an employee’s behavior after hire.

In fact, less than 25 percent of employers proactively screen employees after hiring. In many instances, employers only conduct post-hire screenings upon discovering a problem. By then it may already be too late.

When to Screen Post-Hire?

It is unlikely that employers will know the instant that an employee becomes a risk without proper attention. This awareness post-hire is especially important because post-hire is when an employee is able to do the most damage.

Many industries expect continuous, post-hire screening to become the new normal in the workforce.

Ultimately, deciding when to conduct post-hire screens depends on an individual business’s needs, resources, and industry regulations. However, most industries choose to screen annually or whenever considering an employee for promotion.

Why Screen Post-Hire?

In addition to ensuring workplace safety, post-hire checks can identify concerns that employers may have missed initially. Often, rescreening employees post-hire can help to uncover possible fabrications in a resume.

Retaining employees who become involved in criminal activity after hiring poses a threat to your company and staff. An employee’s criminal activity can also make a business liable for negligent retention. Even if your employee’s background checks are squeaky-clean, post-hire screening is still a best practice for workplace safety and productivity.

How to Screen Post-Hire?

Remember that employers must always obtain compliant post-hire consent in order to run post-hire checks. Individual business and industry requirements and regulations may direct the specifics of your post-hire screening plan. This means that your business needs to partner with a consumer reporting agency that understands your particular circumstances.

Make sure that the screening service you choose can be customized to ensure compliance and lower the potential risk in the workplace.




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Wells Fargo: When Thousands of Employees Go Wrong

On September 8, 2016, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) and other regulators fined Wells Fargo $185 million for fraud committed by thousands of employees. Wells Fargo employees fraudulently opened over 2 million bank accounts and credit cards for customers without permission. The fake credit cards amassed more than $400,000 in fees to unsuspecting customers.

The 5,300 bank employees fired by Wells Fargo since 2011 for opening up unauthorized bank accounts and credit cards are not hardened criminals. These low-level, first-time fraud perpetrators likely follow the standard “fraud triangle” paradigm. This model developed by American criminologist Dr. Donald Cressey illustrates the risk factors that lead to occupational fraud: first, pressure; second, opportunity; third, rationalization. Cresey states:

“Trusted persons become trust violators when they conceive of themselves as having a financial problem which is non-shareable, are aware this problem can be secretly resolved by violation of the position of financial trust, and are able to apply to their own conduct in that situation verbalizations which enable them to adjust their conceptions of themselves as trusted persons with their conceptions of themselves as users of the entrusted funds or property.”


Why did these employees defraud innocent customers? The CFPB press release declares, “Bank Incentives to Boost Sales Figures Spurred Employees to Secretly Open Deposit and Credit Card Accounts.”

Former Wells Fargo employees complained of extreme and unrealistic pressure to attain goals, job loss threats, and berating by management. Employees struggled to meet demanding quotas, facing working conditions that the National Employment Law Project characterizes as “unrelenting pressure.”  The NELP notes that managers “constantly hound, berate, demean and threaten employees to meet these unreachable quotas.”

These aggressive sales metrics and low wages offered a perfect incentive for fraudulent tactics. Employees began to cut corners by opening accounts and products for customers without their knowledge.


This fraudulent behavior has been on the radar since 2011. Why did this behavior persist for five years? It appears that the company placed no actual limits on employees. Whatever checks and balances were in place at the time did not end the fraud after employees started to be fired in 2011. Opportunity did not disappear, and, more importantly, incentive did not disappear.

To make matters worse, the example set at the top did not help. In fact, the company’s leadership seemed to reinforce the concept that misdeeds are to be remunerated.

Carrie Tolstedt, the Wells Fargo executive in charge of the unit in which more than 2 million unauthorized customer accounts were opened, was recently praised by CEO John Stumpf as “one of the bank’s most important leaders,” “a standard-bearer of our culture,” and “a champion for our customers.” She will leave Wells Fargo with $124.6 million.

but also perpetuated an atmosphere of rationalization.


The last and possibly most terrifying part of the fraud triangle is the rationalization needed to commit fraud. Roughly 1% of the Bank’s workforce found rationalizations strong enough to commit fraud.

Matt Levine from Bloomberg points out that, unlike the typical financial scandal story “in which small groups of highly paid traders gleefully and ungrammatically conspire to rip-off customers and make a lot of money for themselves and their bank,” that this story is different. Levine asserts that “this looks more like a vast uprising of low-paid and ill-treated Wells Fargo employees against their bosses.” 

What Will It Cost Wells Fargo?

Since the scandal broke, the bank’s share price is only down 6%. However, this is enough for JPMorgan Chase to surpass Wells Fargo in market value for the first time since 2013.

Wells Fargo has suffered a ‘black eye’ in terms of reputation and the public trust—a crucial key to banking. In 2015, Fortune ranked Wells Fargo 22nd in the list of most admired companies. Under Fortune’s “Key Attributes of Reputation” ranking, Wells Fargo earned rankings of #1 for Social Responsibility, #2 for Quality of Management, and #3 for People Management. 

In addition to the $185 million in fines to regulators, Wells Fargo must repay all customers, expected to total at least $2.5 million.

Wells Fargo is also required by the CFPB to ensure proper sales practices. The company must now hire an independent consultant, “to conduct a thorough review of its procedures…requiring employees to undergo ethical-sales training and reviewing the bank’s performance measurements and sales goals to make sure they are consistent with preventing improper sales practices.”

Wells Fargo’s message to its customers on the company website states they recently reached “settlements with the City Attorney of Los Angeles, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency over allegations that some of our retail customers received products and services they did not want.”

Wells Fargo outlined the steps it is taking to remediate the situation. The most effective step is Well’s Fargo’s commitment to the “elimination of all product sales goals in retail banking.” In addition, Wells Fargo commits to more communication, training, disciplinary actions, confirmation to customers of new accounts opened.

Annual Benchmarking Report

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3 Tips for Navigating the Sensitivities of Executive Level Screening

It costs you one-third of a new hire’s salary to replace them, according to the Department of Labor. Those costs only increase the higher up in the organization the turnover occurs. In some cases, it can total in millions of dollars if that person is the CEO. Combine that with the need for increased levels of credibility, reputation, and integrity with C-level executives, it is clear that companies need to be implementing executive level employment screening.

When we see stories like Scott Thompson, Former CEO of Yahoo, caught exaggerating his resume and using a fake computer science degree, and coach Steve Masiello being placed on leave by Manhattan College while his degree status at the University of Kentucky is reviewed, it’s clear to see the importance of an executive onboarding process. The liability to a company’s reputation and the risk to the bottom line are significant, so why don’t all companies take the time to perform a thorough executive level background check?

The answer is simple… C-level executives are often a different breed of animal to recruit and hire. Many executives are “networked-in,” placing the HR team in a sometimes precarious position to potentially alienate new leaders by requesting “onboarding formalities”.

While an experienced candidate often understands the importance of a background check, they may be put off by the request to visit websites and enter personal information or to speak with third-party verifiers. Companies can make this process less precarious for the HR team, and more comfortable for executives by implementing the following tips.

1. Make It Policy

The first step to eliminating any awkwardness from the request is to formalize the procedure for screening executives and board members. Most companies develop an employment background screening program for employees, but many will not have developed a process for screening executives. Create a separate policy specifically for executives that outlines the onboarding and the ongoing screening requirements that the company expects from its executives. A written policy can potentially protect a company’s reputation and its bottom-line.

2. Keep It Professional

Transparency goes a long way to keep the entire process professional. Be sure to clearly communicate the company policy for screening executives and board members. Make sure your candidates always know what to expect from the information they will be asked to provide. Advising executive candidates that the company will be working with an accredited consumer reporting agency that provides highly professional interactions, sensitivity to the executive’s time, and a white glove approach to the handling of sensitive, personal information will help the candidate understand and embrace the process. In addition, let the candidate know they will be screened in areas that might not be on their radar, such as public relations experience and social media persona.

3. Stress Confidentiality

Given the public nature of many executive-level positions, these candidates may be more sensitive to privacy and confidentiality. Make sure your candidate knows their information is in good hands by limiting the staff who can access the results. Ensure this by partnering with an accredited, trusted, and knowledgeable screening provider who can guarantee confidentiality,

In summary, creating a specialized executive level screening program that sets the policies and communication practices related to positions of authority within the organization, can help your organization navigate the sensitivities and ensure that the company’s credibility, reputation, and integrity are maintained.

For more information on implementing an executive level background screening program at your organization, please call us at 866.223.8822, or request a complimentary consultation today.

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5 Reasons You Should Be Conducting Post-Hire Employee Background Checks

In today’s business environment, more and more companies are conducting post-hire employee background checks in order to mitigate company risk. When FCRA compliant, post-hire employee screenings are an effective risk management tool. A candidate who had a clear background at the time of hire may commit crimes years after they have been employed.

Conducting background checks on current employees is a way to demonstrate due diligence. Post-Hire Screening answers several sensitive questions about your employees.

Consider the following 5 reasons you should be conducting post-hire employee background checks:

1. It’s the Law

Because of federal and state mandates, post-employment background checks are required for many employees. For example, the transportation and medical industries are required by law to conduct annual background checks on all current employees to help these employers maintain workplace safety. Post-hire screening is becoming a more regular part of customized screening solutions.

2. Reduce the Risks Associated with Negligent Hiring and Retention Claims

If your organization is not mandated to perform post-hire screenings, you should still be aware of the potential risks of “negligent retention”, which could make your organization directly liable to a third party for negligently retaining an employee. Negligent retention applies when an organization should have known about an employee’s dangerous propensities, yet continued employing the individual. There have been a number of cases supporting negligent retention in the past several years. The choice to perform post-hire employment screenings is a way to demonstrate due diligence and assist in investigations.

3. A Promotion is a Change in Responsibility

Many companies conduct basic screenings for their entry-level candidates. When an employee is rewarded for their job performance, they are often promoted from within and take on new roles and responsibilities. As the level of responsibility grows, so does the risk for the employer if the wrong individual is placed into a position of authority. A simple rescreen for employees being considered for additional levels of responsibility can help the organization mitigate risk and ensure a more secure workplace.

4. Support Internal Affairs Investigations

Although an employee may have a clean background check when hired, anything can happen over the coming years. Some companies make it a policy to perform annual post-hire screenings for all employees, while others implement a company policy stating that an employee will be rescreened if the employee is involved in an internal affairs investigation.

5. Maintain a Safer, More Secure Workplace

Public safety companies perform post-hire employee background screening every five years for a reason. Public service employees are scrutinized due to the responsibility they have for serving the public at large. Perhaps your organization works in tandem with the public sector? No matter the situation, periodic and random checks of your staff on a rotating basis may bolster your organization’s reputation for excellence and zero tolerance.

In addition, managers and directors are always the last to know! If it has been a long time since you were a line employee, you may remember that management seemed to have one communication style, while the employees had another. As a result, what the employees knew about and assumed to be obvious, the management sometimes had no idea, until it was too late. Since the employees are the lifeblood of any organization, regular screening can help ensure that everyone is on the same page.

In summary, adding a post-employment option to your screening program may help minimize your organization’s risk over the long term. It is important to note that applicable and compliant post-hire consent must be obtained in order to run post-hire checks.

For more information on implementing an FCRA compliant post-hire employee background screening program at your organization, please call us at 866.223.8822, or request a complimentary consultation today.