Category Archives: Education Verification

FBI Background Checks

Gold Standard or Fool’s Gold?

Posted on: August 1, 2013

Lessons from the River for Business Owners and HR Professionals
Posted on: March 13, 2013

Matthew J. Rodgers, President, 

Are you an HR professional or a business owner who utilizes background checks for employment purposes? Does your organization count on you to shield it from expensive lawsuits and unnecessary discussions with regulatory agencies such as the EEOC?

The challenge of keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of emerging risk factors is daunting. Most of us have a mental survival mechanism that creates a quick ranking of the potential risk involved with each new issue that catches our attention . The less we hear about other companies being sued or investigated, the faster we put that issue on the back burner. Maybe that particular issue rises in importance in the future, and maybe it doesn’t.

I have spent a lifetime running businesses and whitewater rivers. Running a complex and dangerous river is similar to meeting a complex and dangerous challenge in the workplace. Rapids on a river just happen with greater speed and frequency and the results of poor planning and execution can be far more dire. We refer to a life threatening swim in a dangerous stretch of river as “Getting Maytagged” because it is like surviving the wash, rinse and spin cycle in a Maytag washing machine. Speaking from experience, it is always better to avoid being Maytagged whenever possible.

I make the following comparison because of the profound similarities between business challenges and river challenges.

At work, you start to hear about other employers that have been penalized or sued for failing to raise the level of attention to an emerging policy issue. As an HR professional or business owner, if you have access to this information and have an ear to the ground then these scenarios become clear signs that it is time to re-assess and make important policy changes.

On the river, you always hear the impending rapid way before you see it. The louder it gets, the more attention and respect it deserves. In most cases, you can paddle to the side of the river, get out of your boat and scout the water ahead. Scouting simply involves climbing up high and looking down on the river allowing you to plan your approach and descent.

Of course there is always the “Read and run” method which ignores scouting in favor of reading the water as you run it, but this can and often does lead to being Maytagged.

With experience, you will develop an ear for the river, just like you acquire a well developed ear for your business. If you are listening and paying attention, you are probably aware of the following recent news stories.

  • Pepsi to pay $3.13 Million and Made Major Policy Changes to Resolve EEOC Findings
  • Kmart Corporation Pays $3 million to settle a class action lawsuit involving claims that it failed to inform 60,000 job applicants that they could be denied employment based on background checks
  • Dollar General’s Use of Criminal Background Checks Faces EEOC Scrutiny

These are just a few examples of large corporations that have in-house legal teams and multiple Human Resources professionals on their payroll and yet they simply did not scout the water. Read and run? $3 Million dollar Maytag.

Would your company or career survive this kind of judgement, scrutiny or penalty?

The only thing better than scouting a rapid is running it with a with a highly experienced, trained and seasoned  River Guide who runs that river professionally.

So the question is, how comfortable are you that your company has effectively scouted the potential risks surrounding :

  • Proper Pre-Authorization by applicants and employees?
  • Individualized Assessment to avoid Title VII Liability? 
  • Pre-Adverse Action and Adverse Action Steps?

The river is getting very, very loud. In addition to these examples there are many attorneys who make their living one client at a time focused exclusively on these specific issues. Can you hear it? Will you attempt to read and run it? Will you scout it? Hire a guide?

You do not need to lie awake at night knowing that this threat to your business is out there and that you may be one phone call away from getting financially and professionally Maytagged.

If you are not certain about your policies and practices surrounding these critical areas and the use of background checks in the employment setting perhaps it is time to address this challenge head-on.

Contact me and I will share with you a path to safety based on the guidance of industry-leading professional legal experts.  Don’t get Maytagged. My company is We are employment background screening professionals and we know this river!


Are Your Background Checks Made in the USA? Why it Matters.
Posted on: January 2, 2013


Perhaps the importance of the “Made in the USA” label is rarely more critical than when an employer chooses a company to complete employment background checks.

When applying for employment in the United States the applicant will most likely have a background check completed on them at some point in the hiring process. The employer will order the background check by providing the background checking company with all of the necessary private personally identifiable information for the applicant including name, date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license number, past employers and schools attended.

Some of the largest US background checking firms allow immediate access to all of this information to offshore service centers which are not bound by US laws regarding privacy protection and identity theft.

Unfortunately, in many cases the employer and the applicant have no idea that the background checking company routinely sends their private personally identifiable information offshore.

Ask your background checking company about offshoring. Make sure that you know where private personally identifiable information goes when you order a background check.