Posts Tagged ‘Kevin von der Lippe’

Sometimes I feel like I am selling fear…

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

The following post is from CAI’s Kevin von der Lippe. He serves as CAI’s private investigator and leads the company’s Background Checking department.

Kevin von der Lippe, Private Investigator

Kevin von der Lippe, Private Investigator

Often, clients hear me talking about the pitfalls of not staying compliant with the nitpicky rules of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  Or, they hear me cautioning against transgression of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and how the onerous Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is in their enforcement.  Sometimes I feel like I am selling fear, but the reality is, the litigation is real, the liability for your company is real, and the long term consequences for non-compliance can be devastating to your company.

The view from today’s perspective is that there is a sea of class action lawsuits over small, technical flaws with the paperwork required under the FCRA.  In particular, the two main points of contention are: proper release from your applicant or employee, and sending out the proper paperwork (or even any paperwork) before you make your adverse employment action based upon the background check.

The problem stems from an infamous $22 million settlement on the East Coast in 2008. This particular case showed that suing companies who fail to comply with the FCRA could be lucrative. In 2009, the Sixth Circuit ruled that a plaintiff did not have to show actual damages because the fact that the company failed to comply with the FCRA was in-of-itself an “injury” to the plaintiff, thus giving him justification in filing his suit. [1]

In February 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (in California) ruled that “a plaintiff can suffer a violation of the statutory right without suffering actual damages.” [2] Contrary to rulings from other circuits, this reignited a firestorm and on April 27, 2015, the argument made its way to the nation’s highest court. While the Supreme Court’s decision has not yet been made, the ruling could change Congress’ role in defining how these cases move forward, and perhaps even reduce the number of class action lawsuits that are based solely on technical flaws.

The good news is, you can reduce your exposure under the FCRA by keeping up with the necessary paperwork.  CAI provides samples of the necessary documents on our website, www.capital.org/vea.  We also provide the necessary FCRA paperwork with every report issued by our background checking department.

If you have questions about our background checking services, or how CAI can help you remain in compliance with the federal laws related to background screening, please do not hesitate to contact Kevin W. von der Lippe at (336) 899-1150 or by e-mail at kevin.vonderlippe@capital.org.

Capital Associated Industries Services Corporation is a licensed investigative agency, specializing in corporate pre-employment background screening. Our corporate agency license is BPN 001473P11.

[1] Beaudry v. TeleCheck Services, Inc., (6th Cir. 2009).

[2] Thomas Robins v. Spokeo, Inc. (9th Cir. 2010)

The Million Dollar Lie

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

The following post is from CAI’s Kevin von der Lippe. He serves as CAI’s private investigator and leads the company’s Background Checking department.

Kevin von der Lippe, Private Investigator

Kevin von der Lippe, Private Investigator

Laszlo Bock, the Senior Vice President of HR at Google, recently caused a stir with his two-part blog post on Linkedin® in which he exposed the ugly truth about the overwhelming number of resume mistakes that flood his desk. Bock estimates that Google accumulates more than 50,000 applicant resumes in a single week, and he personally guarantees that more than half of all resumes have at least 1 mistake on them.  He goes on to discuss the top 5 pitfalls that otherwise remarkable job candidates make on their resumes that lead to a lose-lose situation for both the candidate and the employer. The most notorious of these infractions?  Lies.

For some reason, applicants and sometimes hiring managers fail to understand that the entire point of conducting a background check is to independently verify the information provided by the job seeker.  Bock says it breaks his heart when he finds an applicant that lied on the resume.  Last year, a Careerbuilder® survey found that 58% of employers have caught an applicant lying on their resume. I can tell you from personal experience that CAI’s background checking department commonly finds evidence of lying during the 90,000 or so background checks we conduct each year.

Lying about one’s education seems to top the list of transgressions, but fudging dates of employment and being dishonest about prior convictions are also top contenders. Interestingly, a recent court case in Pennsylvania ruled that a company could hold an applicant accountable for not providing an honest answer regarding criminal records on job applications, even when the crimes were not specifically job related.

Bock suggests in his post that you should use his company’s search engine to do a quick search for “CEO fired for lying on resume.”   Imagine climbing the corporate ladder for 15 years until you finally become CEO, only to have your dream turn to horror as you’re fired for a lie you made on your resume 15 years ago.  You would be surprised how often this scenario occurs, and it is continues thanks in part to failed or insufficient background checks.

And let’s not forget, the stakes are high for employers too! The average settlement of a negligent hiring lawsuit is nearly $1 million.  Don’t be a statistic!  Make sure you are conducting thorough background checks on prospective employees. Let CAI’s detective agency help you sort through your applicant’s statements, and make sure you are hiring the right person with the skill set you need.

If you have questions about our background checking services, or how CAI can help you remain in compliance with the federal laws related to background screening, you can call me at 336 -899-1150 or email at kevin.vonderlippe@capital.org.

Follow the DOs and DONTs of Background Checking in 2015

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

The following post is from CAI’s Kevin von der Lippe. He serves as CAI’s private investigator and leads the company’s reference checking department. Kevin has some helpful tips to keep you on the right track in 2015.

Kevin von der Lippe, Private Investigator

Kevin von der Lippe, Private Investigator

With the start of the New Year, most of us are happily looking toward the future and have already began adopting our newly appointed “good habits” for 2015.  So, now that you’re back on path of good intentions, make sure you’re hiring practices are as well! Make sure you’re following the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when requesting your background checks in 2015 before you’re caught on the wrong end of a class action law suit!

Unfortunately, 2014 was a hard year for some… blindsiding several uninformed businesses with more than a few unwelcomed class action lawsuits for disobeying the FCRA.  Why you ask? Because in 2007 the Supreme Court ruled[1] that if a company displays willful acts of disregard for the FCRA, then such companies may be sued for punitive damages without proving actual damages.

And in 2014, suing is exactly what they did…

November 2014, Publix Super Markets settled their class action lawsuit for $6.8 million.  In October, Dollar General settled their suit for a little over $4 million. And after being sued by a former employee in September, Cannon Solutions America, Inc. settled for an undisclosed amount.

All from technical flaws.

Many of these cases are brought forth over the company either not obtaining proper permission from the applicant or by not providing proper notice to the applicant pending a negative hiring action.  In both cases the law is clear.

You must obtain permission – with very specific wording – on a stand-alone release form before you conduct a background check.  The release form cannot be clouded by having extraneous information, or by asking the applicant to waive his or her rights.

If you receive a background check with negative information, which gives you too much heartburn to move forward with the job offer, you must provide the applicant with a chance to review the report and dispute any inaccuracies before you make your final hiring decision.  How to comply with the process is clearly spelled out in the FCRA.  You must provide your applicant with a copy of the report, a summary of their rights under the FCRA, and a pre-adverse action letter that tells them the contact information for your background checking company.  Some states may require some additional information (NC requires a Security Freeze document).  You should then give your applicant a “reasonable amount of time” to review the report and make a dispute.  We believe that five business days will be sufficient in many cases.  Afterwards you must provide the applicant with a final adverse action letter that states they are no longer a candidate, and again provides the background checking company’s contact information.

For more information, or to see a sample of the FCRA documents, please visit our website www.capital.org/vea, or contact Kevin von der Lippe at (336) 899-1150.

[1] Safeco vs. Burr 551 U.S. 47 (2007)

Choose Wisely to Avoid the Cost of a Bad Hire

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

There are several costs associated with hiring a new employee. Money is spent hiring a recruiter, advertising the new position, reimbursing travel expenses and training the new staff member. Not only are financial resources used, but employers spend an ample amount of time with job candidates and new hires. Time is spent interviewing, onboarding and educating the new team member. When considering all the effort invested in one employee, uncovering that she’s a bad hire can be devastating.

CareerBuilder’s recent survey on costs related to bad hires indicates that 65 percent of the participating US hiring managers said that their bad hiring decision cost their company $25,000 to $50,000. Financial losses are easy to spot, but bad hires can also lower productivity and impact their coworkers negatively. Although you can’t prevent a bad hire 100 percent of the time, you can take several steps to ensure a candidate is a good fit for your job opening. Use the tips below to avoid a poor hiring decision:

Know the Job

Do you know why you have a vacancy at your company, and why it hasn’t been filled yet? If your opening isn’t new, take some time to thoroughly understand the requirements and skills needed to fill the position. Review what made past employees successful in the position and what made them ultimately leave. If there wasn’t much success, evaluate what you can do to help reduce turnover.

Nail the Interview

Evaluate your company’s role and responsibility during the interview process. Do you have good interviewers that are excellent time keepers and make job candidates feel welcomed? Do you utilize interview questions that will paint a picture of what the candidate did at his previous job? Do you incorporate questions that will give the candidate different scenarios of what he can expect from his new job? Planning for well-thought-out behavioral interview questions is a must.

Check and then Double Check

Before setting a start date for your new employee, make sure all of your company’s pre-requisites for new hires are completed. Perform a background check to verify his employment and criminal history, call his references to confirm his past work performance and experience, and have him complete an assessment to further demonstrate job fit.

Following the three tips above should help you identify high-performing talent and avoid making a costly hiring mistake. CAI offers services to help you increase your chances of selecting a great hire. Contact Molly Hegeman at 919-878-9222 or http://j.mp/cai-a for more information about recruiting and assessments.  Contact Kevin von der Lippe at 336-668-7746 or www.capital.org/vea for questions regarding background checking and reference services.

Photo Source: hawken king