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Can you see Friday yet? Happy Monday :D

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“The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently responded to a letter sent by a number of state attorneys general urging the agency to reconsider its guidance on the use of criminal background checks in employment. The guidance at issue – Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – has beencriticized since its release last year.

The letter from the attorneys general took issue with, among other things, the EEOC’s application of disparate impact analysis to an employer’s use of criminal history screens, which was the subject of two recently-filed lawsuits. According to the EEOC, the criticism is based on a “misunderstanding” of what the guidance suggests, and emphasized it is not illegal for employers to conduct or use the results of criminal background checks. The agency explains that the guidance does not urge or require employers to use individualized assessments instead of bright-line screens. Instead, the letter states that the guidance encourages a two-step process for job applicants, with individualized assessment as the second step. Under this process, an employer would first use a “targeted” screen of criminal records, which the EEOC says “considers at least the nature of the crime, the time elapsed, and the nature of the job.” Following the use of a targeted screen, employers have the opportunity to individually assess the applicants that were screened out by the first step. According to the EEOC:

using individualized assessment in this manner provides a way for employers to ensure that they are not mistakenly screening out qualified applicants or employees based on incorrect, incomplete, or irrelevant information, and for individuals to correct errors in their records. The Guidance’s support for individualized assessment only for those who are identified by the targeted screen also means that individualized assessments should not result in “significant costs” for businesses.

The EEOC further contends that the individualized assessment “is a safeguard that can help an employer to avoid liability when it cannot demonstrate that using only its targeted screen would always be job related and consistent with business necessity.”

The EEOC also responds to another assertion in the attorneys general letter that the Guidance “purports to supersede state and local hiring laws that impose bright-line criminal background restrictions that are not narrowly tailored.” The agency responds that the EEOC’s Guidance is simply reciting and applying the text of Title VII, which sets forth the principle that federal law preempts contradictory state or local law.

That the EEOC saw the need to address these issues indicates that there remains much confusion over the legality of when and how to conduct such background checks. A federal district court in Maryland recently dismissed an EEOC Title VII lawsuit against an employer over alleged discriminatory background checks. The court noted that employers have legitimate and at times “essential” business reasons for conducting such inquiries.”

Originally posted by mondaq and can be viewed at

Happy Friday!



Originally posted by Believing Out Loud and can be viewed at



“In the United States, Facebook likes are protected by the first amendment. Liking something on Facebook is the same as using your right to free speech to actually say, “I like this.”   That means that employers should think twice before firing employees over something they “like”. This is what we learned from a federal court ruling on Wednesday.  The case has been making its way through the legal system for over a year.

It began when Deputy Sheriff Daniel Ray Carter of Hampton, Virginia liked the page of  “Jim Adams for Hampton Sheriff.”  Carter’s boss, Sheriff B.J. Roberts was running against Adams. Roberts saw the like, and eventually won the election against Adams. Carter was then fired. Carter claimed it was the Facebook like that led to his termination. He sued, but the judge ultimately determined that a like is not protected free speech. Carter appealed the decision, and Facebook itself even came to his defense. Facebook had this to say in legal documentation last year:  “When a Facebook User Likes a Page on Facebook, she engages in speech protected by the First Amendment”

The district court’s holding that ‘liking’ a Facebook page is insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection” because it does not “involve actual statements,” J.A. 1159, betrays a misunderstanding of the nature of the communication at issue and disregards well-settled Supreme Court and Fourth Circuit precedent. Liking a Facebook Page (or other website) is core speech: it is a statement that will be viewed by a small group of Facebook Friends or by a vast community of online users.

When Carter clicked the Like button on the Facebook Page entitled “Jim Adams for Hampton Sheriff,” the words “Jim Adams for Hampton Sheriff” and a photo of Adams appeared on Carter’s Facebook Profile in a list of Pages Carter had Liked, J.A. 570, 578 – the 21st-century equivalent of a front-yard campaign sign.

If Carter had stood on a street corner and announced, “I like Jim Adams for Hampton Sheriff,” there would be no dispute that his statement was constitutionally protected speech. Carter made that very statement; the fact that he did it online, with a click of a computer’s mouse, does not deprive Carter’s speech of constitutional protection


The ACLU also filed a brief saying:

With “one click of a button,” an Internet user can upload or view a video, donate money to a campaign, forward an email, sign a petition, send a pre-written letter to a politician, or do a myriad of other indisputably expressive activities. The ease of these actions does not negate their expressive nature. Indeed, under the district court’s reasoning, affixing a bumper sticker to your car, pinning a campaign pin to your shirt, or placing a sign on your lawn would be devoid of meaning absent further information, and therefore not entitled to constitutional protection because of the minimal effort these actions require. All of these acts are, of course, constitutionally protected…

That many people today choose to convey what they like or which political candidates they support by “Liking” a Web page rather than by writing the actual words, “I like this Web page” or “I like this candidate,” is immaterial. Whether someone presses a “Like” button to express those thoughts or presses the buttons on a keyboard to write out those words, the end result is the same: one is telling the world about one’s personal beliefs, interests, and opinions. That is exactly what the First Amendment protects, however that information is conveyed.


Fast forward to this week, and a federal judge overturned the decision, appearing to agree with the ACLU’s and Facebook’s reasoning. You can see the 81-page legal document here, but basically, what it comes down to is that pressing the like button to show that you like something on Facebook is no different than if you had actually typed the words “I like this.” You know, basic speech.  Oh, and in case you were wondering, employees using Facebook on company computers is not a federal crime.

Now, just because employees should be able to expect to be able to freely like whatever they want to on Facebook doesn’t mean that they can do whatever they want on Facebook and get away with it. Ask the Taco Bell employee that posted a photo of himself licking a stack of taco shells to Facebook earlier this year. When the photo went viral, he was fired.

I don’t see a court of law having any problem with that. Posting actual incriminating content on Facebook is obviously a great deal different than voicing your support of something via a Facebook like. You wouldn’t believe how often that happens, by the way.  There are other times when the lines are a little blurrier, such as when racism or other types of hateful content….”    To continue reading, click here.


Originally posted by WebProNews and can be found at:

Happy Friday! Have a great weekend!


“Make no mistake. Payroll Fraud is real.  According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, it’s the number one source of accounting fraud and employee theft.  Check out these statistics:

  • Payroll Fraud happens in 27 percent of all businesses
  • Payroll fraud occurs nearly twice as often (14.2 percent) in small organizations with less than 100 employees than in large ones (7.6 percent).
  • The average instance of payroll fraud lasts about 36 months. That’s three years of paying ghost employees or overpaying existing ones. In Delaware, a School District Finance Director paid himself an extra $150,000 over eight years. He also underpaid several school administrators a combined $50,000 in one school year.

The reality is payroll fraud is not preventable, but is catchable.  Anyone can steal at any time.  The key is catching it and minimizing the risk. The best way in doing so is to reconcile your payroll at least quarterly with someone other than the person who runs your payroll.  Yes, it is that simple, and it probably costs you no more than a few hundred dollars each quarter.

There are two common types of payroll fraud, the first being timecard falsification, which can be easily caught through the reconciliation and employee review process I just mentioned. The second most common type of payroll fraud is “ghost employees.”  Ghost employees are just that.  They are employees that do not exist.  In one case that I heard about, the bookkeeper was paying herself a duplicate paycheck through the name “XYZ” and having the money deposited in her checking account. Nobody said criminals were creative.

The third most common type is one that is self-inflicted by the employer through worker misclassification and workplace fraud. It’s the illegal practice of designating an employee as a “1099 worker” or an independent contractor. Unscrupulous business owners do this to avoid paying payroll taxes, unemployment tax or workers’ compensation insurance and are therefore able to submit lower bids for projects, undercutting responsible companies.  Unfortunately, many other business owners may be misclassifying workers without even knowing it, such as if they designate tasks or set time with the contracted employee, if the 1099 employee works only for one company or if he or she is paid a regular amount each week or month. In these instances the company may be misclassifying a W-2 employee as a 1099 employee.  In the State of California, worker misclassification will cost an organization $25,000 per occurrence plus back payroll taxes and penalties.  Many states have similar harsh penalties.

In all cases, it is simply not worth it.  A business can survive and thrive while they classify workers properly. Most importantly, you’ll sleep well at night knowing that they don’t have to worry about the IRS or State taxing authorities knocking on their door.”

Originally posted by Forbes and can be viewed at:


“Today is Friday the 13th, a date many people associate with bad luck, but is Friday the 13th as unlucky as many people believe?

Not likely, but don’t tell that to someone who hides under the covers every time Friday the 13th rolls around on the calendar because that person probably suffers from paraskevidekatriaphobia, the scientific word for someone who has a fear of Friday the 13th.

It’s derived from the Greek words for Friday and thirteen with phobia, or fear, tacked on.

There are many theories about why Fridays which fall on the 13th day of the month are unlucky.

Some believe that the Friday the 13th superstition has an origin in Norse mythology. In one story, the evil god Loki is said to have crashed a party with 12 guests and tricked the blind god Hod into killing his brother Balder, the god of light, joy and reconciliation.

Also, according to Norse mythology, it was the Vikings who decided a hangman’s noose should have 13 loops and in British tradition, Friday was the conventional day for public hangings, and there were supposedly 13 steps leading up to the noose.

Others believe Friday the 13th has origins in Christianity. According to the Bible, Jesus was crucified on a Friday, and there were 13 men at the Last Supper — Jesus and his 12 disciples. In addition, Judas the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th to sit at the table and, for that reason, 13 is considered to carry a curse of sorts.

At some places it is also believed that it was Friday the 13th when Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit.

Another significant piece of the legend is a particularly bad Friday the 13th that occurred in the Middle Ages. On this day in 1306, King Philip of France arrested the revered Knights Templar and began torturing them, marking the occasion as a day of evil. Both Friday and the number 13 were once closely associated with capital punishment.

In Numerology, every number has a particular meaning. The number 13 symbolizes “Death”. It’s a picture of a skeleton with a scythe, reaping down men.

Tradition also has it that God confounded languages at the tower of Babel on a Friday the 13th, and Solomon’s Temple was destroyed on a Friday the 13th.

Friday is named for Frigga, the goddess of love and fertility who was exiled in shame to a mountain and labeled a witch. Some believe that every Friday, Frigga held a meeting with 11 other witches and the devil – a group of 13 – and plotted ill deeds for the upcoming week.

By some estimates, businesses lose millions of dollars on Friday the 13th because people are hesitant to make deals, travel or shop as they would at other times.

In France, a dinner for 13 is thought to be unlucky, and superstitious hosts may hire a “quatorzieme,” a professional 14th guest.

Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue and there is no gate 13 at many airports, the numbers go from twelve to fourteen.

The state lotteries of France, Italy and elsewhere never sell tickets with the number 13.

The fear of 13 has also prompted most high-rise buildings not to have a 13th floor. Hotels do not have room number 13.

But no matter what the origin, the fact is that many people are superstitious about the number 13 and are highly superstitious when it falls on Friday.

Any month’s 13th day will fall on a Friday if the month starts on a Sunday.”


Originally posted by CBS Miami and can be viewed at

Never Forget

Sex Offender Lied on Application to Get Syracuse DPW Job

“SYRACUSE — Mark Carrigan has been described by Syracuse Police as ‘the most prolific sex offender’ in the city’s history. Now, through the Freedom of Information Law, CNY Central has revealed his application for employment with the City of Syracuse.

In 2009, Carrigan filled out a standard application form as he applied for a sanitation job in the Department of Public Works. He was asked twice if he had ever been convicted of a crime, either a felony of a misdemeanor. In one instance he left the question blank, in the other he lied by checking the “no” box.

Carrigan’s application is dated June 10, 2009. At that time he was already a level three sex offender. Carrigan had been victimizing young males since 1988, police say.

At the time he applied for a Syracuse City job, he’d been arrested at least 16 times. Of those charges, 16 were felonies and 22 were misdemeanors along with two other charges. Out of 16 felonies, three resulted in convictions. Of the 22 misdemeanor charges, 12 resulted in convictions.

In 2012, when Carrigan was fired from his DPW job because he had been arrested again for having oral sex with a 15 year-old boy, the city announced that it would not change its policy on background checks. The mayor has since reiterated that the city’s policy is to conduct a background check on people who are applying for jobs where they are most likely to come into contact with children, including police, fire, airport and city parks jobs. However, DPW workers are not subject to such checks.”

Originally posted by CNY Central and can be viewed at