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Happy Friday!

 

 

Originally posted on Tumblr and can be viewed at http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ls3w5jAqaG1qmupweo1_500.gif

CHILD GETS CAUGHT FOR WRITING BAD CHECKS FOR CANDY AND PASTRIES

“An adolescent in France got herself into a heap of trouble this week after police discovered the 12-year-old used stolen checks to fund her sweet tooth. 

According to local newspaper Sud Ouest, the swindling girl wrote 21 bad checks for candy and pastries, amounting to 2,500 euros (about $3,300). She also used two additional checks at a fast-food establishment.

Local police said that the young girl stole a checkbook from a neighbor’s mailbox in March and used it to buy treats at a bakery in Mérignac, near Bordeaux. Apparently the adolescent’s sweet scheme worked so well that she continued to run the con for several months.

But the jig was up when the establishment recently attempted to deposit the fraudulent checks, which bounced. Police apprehended the 12-year-old this week and questioned her about the ruse. She was released to her parents after they agreed to pay back what she owed.”

 

Originally posted by The Huffington Post and can be viewed at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/26/french-girl-writes-bad-checks-candy-3300_n_3658915.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

RHODE ISLAND PASSES A “BAN-THE BOX” LAW

“This week, Rhode Island became the eighth state in the country to pass a statewide Ban the Box law, and it’s one of the most expansive versions out there: The state will require all private and public employers to delay questions about criminal history, following Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Hawaii. Four other states and 51 municipalities have already passed similar measures for hiring public employees, according to the National Employment Law Project. Ban the Box bills are now being considered in New Jersey and California, which passed an executive measure covering public employees in 2010.

“People who have made mistakes need to be able to move on, to move forward with their lives, and we need to change our laws to allow them, even encourage them, to do so,” Rhode Island state senator Harold Metts, a Democrat, said in a statement last week. “They are not being allowed to do so if every job application they fill out looks like an instant dead-end because of that one question about criminal history.”

Supporters say the change is a simple, cost-effective way to help ex-offenders who face major barriers to getting their lives back on track, making it more likely that employers will look at their qualifications first.

“We’re not even saying don’t ask us the question–we’re saying don’t ask the question as the first thing that you do,” said Dorsey Nunn, director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, an ex-felon-turned-advocate who helped spearhead the movement in the Bay Area. “We are asking for opportunity to compete.”

Ban the Box laws generally make exemptions for schools, law enforcement, and other institutions that already require more stringent screening of their employees. But for other kinds of employers, no matter if it’s violent felony, a sex offense, or misdemeanor–They are prohibited from asking about applicants’ criminal histories when they first apply for a job.

The campaign has come at a time when a record number of Americans have tangled with the criminal justice system. About one in three Americans has some kind of criminal record, including arrests that did not lead to convictions, according to the Department of Justice. And NELP estimates that one in four Americans–65 million people–has a record that would show up on routine background check.

Advocates point out that employment is one of the most effective ways to reduce the recidivism rate and support low-income communities–and they insist there’s an upside for employers as well. “In my experience, a lot of times these folks actually make exemplary employees because they work a lot harder and they have something to prove in a way, or that’s how they feel,” said Rhode Island state representative Michael Chippendale, a Republican who spent decades in the manufacturing industry.

Ban the Box supporters stress that employers are under no obligation to hire such candidates and can still conduct background checks and make the usual inquiries, just later in the hiring process. In Rhode Island, for instance, employers can make such inquiries at the first interview, while Hawaii prohibits criminal history questions until employers make a conditional job offer.

Victims’ advocates haven’t rallied to oppose the Ban the Box laws, arguing that it’s more important to ensure that employers follow through with their background checks when they do conduct them. ”Everyone has a right to interview for a job, but there’s an onus on employers to get somebody who’s well fitted,” says Mai Fernandez, executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime.

But many businesses groups say the new rules are too rigid and time-consuming, on top of newly revised federal guidelines employers must follow in using criminal records in hiring. “If you have an applicant who was convicted of murder, and you were never going to hire that person anyway, why would you go through the whole process of doing an interview to discover that information?” said Michael Kalt, a San Diego employment lawyer and lobbyist for the California branch of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Employers also argue that Ban the Box could lead to excessive litigation. According to Michael Egenton, senior vice-president of the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, “People may say, ‘I didn’t get hired because I was asked that question,’ and then there’s a lawsuit.”

The effort to downplay criminal records in hiring isn’t new: Hawaii first passed the first statewide Ban the Box law in 1998. But the idea began to spread after 9/11 as employer background checks became increasingly commonplace, at the same time that record numbers of Americans were coming out of prison in many states. Boston and Chicago passed citywide Ban the Box initiatives in 2004, and cities from Carrboro, North Carolina, to Travis County, Texas, have followed suit.

But it wasn’t until the financial meltdown that Ban the Box started to take off at the state level, and the ranks of the unemployed everywhere began to rise.

With far fewer job openings than applicants, employers have been especially picky about who to hire, making it harder for job seekers with any marks against them–let alone a criminal history. Advocates believe this has made it even harder for African-Americans and other minority groups to benefit from the economic recovery, as they’re arrested and convicted at higher rates than the rest of the population.

Such pressures seem to have accelerated the pace of change. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Mexico passed statewide laws in 2010, followed by Colorado, Maryland, and Minnesota, which expanded a 2009 law to cover private employees as well as public ones. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has also promised to pass a directive in banning the box for state employees. “The political atmosphere has changed,” said Nunn, the Bay Area advocate. “My measure in terms of the successfulness of the issue is how many people have begun to replicate this.”

There’s a good chance that California could become the next state to come on board: a “Ban the Box” bill that would apply to public employees just passed out of committee this month, with hopes for a vote later this year. But the idea has received a more lukewarm reception in New Jersey, whose bill would regulate private employers as well.

“We recognize and appreciate the question of whether we should hold a college student who had a keg party at his dorm to the same level that an individual who held up a convenience store and shot the clerk, said Egenton, of New Jersey’s Chamber of Commerce. “But when you legislate something like this, it’s easier said than done.”

While simply removing the box asking about criminal history seems simple enough, the fine print is more complex. According to the New Jersey bill, for instance, employers can consider only misdemeanors committed in the last 5 years and felonies that have been committed within the last decade, although they can ask about murder, attempted murder, arson, terrorism and registrable sex offenses at any time. If they withdraw a job offer after a background check, employers must submit a form to the state explaining why.

Ban the Box supporters say that such measures are necessary because discrimination can be difficult to pinpoint: Applicants aren’t typically told their criminal histories are problematic, they say–they just don’t get a call back.

There’s some research to back up their claims: in one study, Princeton sociologist Devah Pager sent out job applicants with fictitious resumes and found that those with criminal histories received one-half to one-third the number of callbacks for similar kinds of entry-level positions. Black applicants were even less likely than white applicants to get a job interview even when they had the same criminal histories, Pager found.

The Obama administration also has flagged some of the more egregious violations. While employers are not prohibited from using criminal records in hiring, the federal government has long held that the discriminatory use of criminal records is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as such hiring practices have a disproportionate impact on racial minorities.

The administration has updated its guidelines for Title VII discrimination, but it also hasn’t been afraid to use litigation as well: Last month, it filed suit against BMW for a blanket exclusion of employees with criminal records and against Dollar General for revoking a job offer to a woman convicted for drug possession.

The new Ban the Box laws have yet to prompt a wave of lawsuits. But supporters admit there also isn’t a lot of evidence right now to show whether Ban the Box has actually made a difference in lowering barriers for ex-offenders. They assert, however, that it’s a welcome step at a time when Americans are increasingly required to disclose any criminal history–not only when applying for jobs, but also for housing, insurance, and other basic life necessities.”

 

Originally posted by MSNBC and can be viewed at http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/07/21/have-a-criminal-record-states-dont-want-it-to-be-the-first-thing-employers-see/

Friday’s Funny

 

Working Hard, or Hardly Working?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally posted by Buzzfeed and can be viewed at http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/the-most-annoying-animals-in-your-office

YAWNING COOLS THE BRAIN?

“It’s easy to be offended when a colleague yawns while you’re talking. But that yawn may not mean what you think.

A growing number of researchers believe the purpose of this little-understood behavior is to cool the brain, says a research review published earlier this year in Frontiers in Neuroscience.

Changes in climate affect how often people yawn. Researchers in an earlier study asked two groups of pedestrians  in Tucson, Ariz., one in early summer and one in the winter. People were asked to look at pictures of people yawning and talk about their own yawning behavior.

The participants were nearly twice as likely to yawn when they were surveyed during the winter, when they could inhale cool air to reduce the temperature of the brain, says the study, published in 2011 in Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience. Participants yawned less when surveyed in the early summer, when temperatures outdoors were about the same as the human body.”

 

Originally posted by The Wall Street Journal and can be viewed at http://blogs.wsj.com/atwork/2013/07/16/im-not-yawning-boss-im-just-cooling-my-brain/?mod=WSJ__MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsForth

MAJOR RETAILER SUED FOR FCRA VIOLATIONS

“To resolve a legal challenge to its background-checking process, Advance Auto Parts has tentatively agreed to pay $100 apiece to more than 2,500 people who were turned down after applying for a job. The settlement’s price tag is an estimated $360,000, money Advance has tentatively agreed it would furnish without admitting responsibility or conceding any of the allegations against the company are true.

A hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 23 in U.S. District Court in Roanoke to finalize the settlement, under certain conditions. The case began in September 2012 when John Hamilton Stinson, whose hometown wasn’t given, sued the Roanoke auto parts retailer on grounds it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (the 1970 law governs the collection, privacy and sharing of consumer information by credit reporting agencies, employers and others).

Among his allegations, Stinson contended that Advance didn’t properly obtain his consent with a stand-alone form before accessing his consumer information in response his application for employment in 2010. Stinson’s suit said the information Advance received included felony convictions by someone with the same last name but a different first name.

Though he started working for Advance, the company rescinded its job offer after 10 days over the result of the background check, according to the suit, which also alleged that Advance frequently acted on adverse background-check information without giving applicants a copy of the information beforehand, as the law requires.

Stinson said he obtained the information Advance was given about him by personally contacting the background check company Advance used. Advance, which has 55,000 full- and part-time employees, denied the allegations in the lawsuit.

Thursday, Advance agreed to present a settlement and compensation plan to a judge and to former job applicants for review, while it continues to deny the allegations in the lawsuit. Stinson maintains his allegations are valid, but the two parties said in a joint filing that they want to settle the case rather than having a trial.

Under the settlement plan, Stinson’s lawyers would receive $99,000 for their representation services and expenses and Stinson would receive $5,000 for being the lead plaintiff. The agreement calls for paying compensation to people who applied for work at Advance, underwent a background check that found a disqualifying criminal record or credit issue and did not get the job or a timely copy of the consumer report. Advance believes 2,571 people fit that definition and it will identify them so Stinson’s lawyer can notify them, court papers said.

This major background check company agreed in August 2012 to pay a $2.6 million civil penalty to the federal government to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The company did not admit fault. Prosecutors alleged that the background check company failed to ensure the accuracy of the information it gave to employers, court papers said.

Advance no longer uses this background check company, Advance spokeswoman Shelly Whitaker said. Whitaker said Advance has “policies and procedures in place to ensure that the rights of our applicants are protected, including those rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.” She declined further comment.”

 

This article was originally posted by the Roanoke Times and can be found at: http://www.roanoke.com/news/business/2039706-12/advance-auto-parts-makes-tentative-deal-in-lawsuit.html

 

The FCRA can be found by clicking here

 

Do you have questions about your obligations under the FCRA?  Contact your MGO account manager and they will be happy to go over your obligations and answer any questions you may have. 

 

 

 

EMPLOYEES FIRED VIA TEXT MESSAGE

“I think it’s immoral. I think it’s cowardice,” Jackson told WFTV. The text message to the staffer on July 4 read, “I unfortunately need to inform you that I have been forced to close Barducci’s effective immediately.”

According to the cook, at least 12 other employees received the same message. The surprise Fourth of July firing gave no notice, the employee said. The restaurant is now shut down, and Jackson says the workers are waiting for their final paychecks.

“I think we all deserve our compensation for money he’s already made from us,” Jackson told the TV station.

Customers who had purchased Groupon deals for the restaurant also worried they would not be refunded. “Now I’m thinking about how I’m going to get my money back from that,” Lauren Bartolome, standing in front of the shuttered eatery, told the TV station. “I don’t know what to do now.”

However, Groupon told the TV station that it will give customers a refund.

The issue of employee pay, however, still seems to be unresolved. When a WFTV reporter tried to contact the restaurant owner for a comment, he finally replied to her—by text.

“Unfortunately businesses are forced to close across Orlando every day especially in the restaurant sector,” Kennedy sent by cellphone message. “I am working to resolve issues including final paychecks as quickly as possible.'”

 

Originally posted by Yahoo News and can be viewed at http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/florida-restaurant-fires-employees-text-message-144320874.html

 

Friday Funny: Help Wanted Signs

“We all know times are tough. So many people are unemployed, underemployed or underpaid, that any available job can look like a golden opportunity. That is, unless it’s one of these….”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally posted by The Huffington Post and can be viewed at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/11/the-13-funniest-help-want_n_493654.html

INEFFECTIVE PRE-EMPLOYMENT SCREENING LEADS TO RISE IN EMPLOYEE THEFT

“Poor pre-employment screening and a decline in supervision are contributing to the rise in employee theft incidents, new research shows.

A study of 23 large retail companies by loss-prevention consulting firm Jack L. Hayes International shows that 71,095 dishonest employees were apprehended in 2012, up 5.5 percent from 2011. In total, more than $50 million was recovered in those cases, up 7 percent from a year earlier.

“The seriousness of retail theft is a much greater problem than many people realize,” said Mark Doyle, president of Jack L. Hayes International. “These theft losses are stealing profits from retailers and driving retail prices higher for the consumer.”

Though the research didn’t provide exact numbers, in general, more recently hired employees — those with less than a year on the job — and part-time employees with no vested interest in the company are the employees who tend to be apprehended more frequently, Doyle said.

Specifically, Jack L. Hayes International attributes the increase in employee theft to a number of factors, including the following:

  • Ineffective pre-employment screening: The first step to controlling internal theft starts at the point of hire. Do not hire the “bad apple.” Some retailers, in an effort to reduce their costs, have lowered their pre-screening requirements and are now hiring more “questionable” employees. When statistics show one out of every 36 employees is actually caught stealing by their employer, there has likely been some type of breakdown in the pre-employment screening process.
  • Less employee supervision: With lower management levels, there is less supervision of employee activities, which results in more opportunities to commit theft.
  • Ease in selling stolen goods: Merchandise stolen by employees can be quickly and easily sold, and for a much higher price, using online auction sites. This easy access to a much larger audience for stolen goods has resulted in more theft by dishonest employees looking for quick cash.
  • Decline in honesty: The almost-daily incidents of business, government, law enforcement, celebrities, sports figures and church leaders being involved in questionable activities make it easier for “borderline” employees to steal and to rationalize their actions. In addition, the part-time workforce is growing, and it is not uncommon to find that many such workers have less loyalty to their employer, and are more apt to take advantage of opportune circumstances.”

Originally posted by Business News Daily and can be viewed at http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4657-employee-theft-rising.html