Security Industry Updates
February 12, 2007
SEARCH Criminal History Workshop
On February 12, 2007, Florida Association of Security Companies (FASCO) sent a representative to Washington DC to attend a Workshop on Expanding Access to Criminal History Information and Improving Criminal Record Backgrounding held by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs and the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Council.
Meeting Reference Material: Public Law 92-544, Privacy Act of 1974, Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Section 613, National Child Protection Act (NCPA)/Volunteers for Children Act (VCA), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Compliance Manual, Section 15, pages 29-30, Conviction and Arrest Records, The National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact.
The Workshop was separated into four panels which discussed specific topics. Please find highlights of each panel discussion listed below:
Panel One - Expanding Access to Criminal History Record Information for Background Checks
- Allow employers access after submitting an application and receiving approval from the FBI for access. May allow applicant access prior to employer to check for accuracy of the report
- May set up a system similar to the Credit Report process whereby an individual can have a copy of their FBI criminal record each year to review for accuracy. May establish an appeal process.
- State Repositories do not have the capability to handle future requests on a State level.
- Information received from States must be accurate and complete records.
- A cost for obtaining these FBI Criminal Background Records will need to be established.
- Flat capture of prints in addition to live-scan prints will be authorized.
- The FBI will need to add personnel and upgrade systems to handle additional requests. FBI would also be required to develop a policy and procedure for use of the CHRI and implement privacy protections.
- The FBI would establish a 1-800 number and website to assist employers and applicants in reading the CHRI obtained from the FBI. The FBI may also standardize the rap sheet for easier understanding.
- Only 50% of information listed on the FBI system lists dispositions.
- Would require background checks to have a three (3) day turnaround period.
- Critical Infrastructure businesses require accurate and complete background checks and are vital to our Homeland Security.
- States will have an option to opt in or out of the program. If they opt out, employer may go to another State that has opted in to the program or go directly to the FBI.
- Currently there are 19 agencies that have been approved by CJIS as a channeling agency.
- Fingerprint based CHRI is much more accurate than name search background checks.
- Currently, approximately 84-92% of employers conduct some kind of background checks on their perspective employees. Pre 911 the emphasis was on Drug Free, Post 911 the emphasis is on Criminal.
- Companies represented did not object to a reasonable fee in order to gain accurate and complete background information on an applicant. Most companies currently pay large fees to gain State,
- County,and City background checks that are not always accurate and complete. A big issue lies in applicants not disclosing all States of residence causing incomplete background information.
Panel Two - Privacy an Consumer Protections
- Must enter into user agreements with companies requesting access to the FBI CHRI. Companies can not re-disseminate information received.
- Notice of Subject to Consent needs to be received prior to the request for CHRI being sent. Describe scope of check, appeal process, access and review of record received.
- Questions 1) is the criminal record public information, 2) how recent is the information received, 3) what crimes are listed, 4) what type of information is released, 5) is the information released accurate, 6) are juvenile records released, 7) is information used for negligent hiring.
- Employers have a right to know the background of the people they are employing and should not discriminate or eliminate based upon CHRI received. Minor infractions may be allowable based upon each individual company standards.
- Applicant has a right to know what information is being disclosed to possible employer and if the information disclosed is accurate. Applicant also should have the right to dispute inaccurate information.
- May only show the past seven (7) years of criminal history.
- A comment was made that more FCRA interaction needs to be present when releasing CHRI.
- Some members on this panel did not feel that everyone required access to CHRI and maybe should be allowed on a case by case basis...
- Everyone who has access to the information should be screened and audits should be scheduled to ensure that employers are following proper protocols.
- Full file disclosure should be instituted allowing applicant access to all information being provided to employer.
- Issue was brought up concerning re-entry of individuals who have served time in prison for various offenses. Access to FBI CHRI may prohibit these individuals from finding employment
- Employers should be held liable for protecting information received.
Panel Three - Screening Standards
- Protecting public vs.. protecting individuals privacy and re-entry into the community
- It was mentioned that Florida has a re-entry task force that investigates who was denied employment due to criminal record results.
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement received 2.3 million requests for CHRI last year.
- Employer should determine what criminal offenses previously committed by an applicant would affect their work duties. Should not eliminate consideration if offense would not directly affect performance.
- Create a more unified checking process to include ALL State Repositories and FBI.
- Second Chance Act - Identifies States to evaluate their Statutes to give another chance to convicted persons.
- Should not allow criminal record information which exceeds seven (7) years to be sent to employers. Possibly follow the same reporting structure as the FCRA.
- The FBI is trying to clean up dispositions by requesting State and Federal Courts to send dispositions when received.
- The FBI reported that 33 states are willing to supply State information for IAFIS.
Panel Four - Suitability Criteria
- The Attorney Generals Report on Criminal History Background Checks recognizes the delicate balance between protecting the workplace through judicious use of criminal record background checks and the need to give certain applicants a second chance despite their past criminal histories. While the report recommends expanding CHRI access to all employers, it also recommends that users of the information certify that it will not be used in violation of applicable equal employment opportunity laws and regulations.
- Employers are encouraged to consider the nature and gravity of an offense, the time that has passed since conviction or completion of the sentence, and the nature of the job being sought when
- determining the relevance of convictions in hiring decisions.
- The Attorney General's report also suggests that Congress may want to consider whether guidance should be provided to employers on appropriate time limits that should be observed when specifying disqualifying offenses and on allowing an individual the opportunity to seek a waiver from the disqualification.
If you would like additional information on the workshop outlined above, you may be able to obtain additional information from SEARCH at the following address; www.search.org, 7311 Greenhaven Drive, Suite 145, Sacramento, CA 95831. FASCO will continue to follow this important topic and will keep updates listed on our website
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