Monday, July 28, 2014

Tips to Help Your Business Fly Under the EEOC Radar

Small businesses can’t make the mistake of thinking they are immune to EEOC notice!  "Tweet This"

Now is the time to make sure that your hiring practices are not violating EEOC guidelines, especially those concerning background check releases and disclosure forms.

The first step would be to make sure you are not making these 
4 Most Common Background Check Release Violations:
  • You (the Employer) don't Disclose that a Background Check will be Obtained
  • You don't obtain a Signed Authorization from your Applicants
  • Your Authorization Form is Not a Stand-Alone Document
  • Your Authorization Form includes a Release from Liability
Take this case filed against Chuck E. Cheese in March, 2014. The suit claims that the restaurant violates EEOC and FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Agency) guidelines on their authorization forms. 

First, the suit alleges that the restaurant’s background check authorization is part of a “multi-page” employment application and not a separate document. And Second, that it also contains a release of the company from any liability concerning the information found during the background screening. Both are in direct contrast to current EEOC guidelines. (case Update - 8/2015, Chuck E. Cheese settles for $1.75 million).

And this is not the only case of this type. Suits are currently pending against many others for FCRA violations.  

Now is the time to be proactive and take a fresh look at your release forms...and API can help you make any changes you need!

Read our complete list of background check release tips in the original article posted on LinkedIn.

While you may never be completely immune, following these tips will help your small business stay under the EEOC radar. And that is a very good thing!

Please Pay it Forward. Share and Comment on this article. We would love to hear from you!  Thanks!

Authored by  

For Help on keeping your Small Business Hiring Practices compliant,  

You can find out more About Us and a list of our Services too!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Many States Not Doing Enough to Protect You from Dangerous Home Health Workers

If you have ever been in the position to need a Home Healthcare Worker for you or a member of your family, you know the angst of trying to hire the best one for your needs.

You need to know that they possess the necessary medical training to provide the best care and you want to be able to trust them in your home.  A tall task indeed.

I found myself in this situation.  I had surgery and was sent home with bandages that needed changing and an open wound that required monitoring.  

Fortunately, I was able to find a caregiver that was knowledgable and had been required by her agency to undergo a thorough background check.  That certainly  helped alleviate my worries.

While federal laws governing Medicare workers require background checks on all their employees, workers hired through private agencies are not governed by the same laws.  And many states either have limited or no legislation in place to require them.

Currently, 10 states require no background checks at all (Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming), while others have spotty or inconsistent rules.  This puts anyone needing the services of home healthcare workers at risk.  

A recent report from the Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services, highlights the variety of state requirements.  41 states have legislation in place  requiring screening.  However, what types of criminal records would prohibit employment and the sporadic existence of follow-up checks are cause for concern.

Many private home care agencies are pro-active and choose to screen their applicants.  However, without formal background check requirements, what they check is at their discretion.

While it is definitely encouraging that many states have, or are planning, mandated background checks, I believe uniform background check requirements on anyone providing home health care across all states are in our best interests.

Barring anyone convicted of violent or drug related crimes from employment as a home healthcare worker is a start.  It is also important to prohibit anyone who has a past record of abuse or neglect from this type of work. (You can read more on my thoughts about protecting our elderly and other vulnerable from abuse here).

The next step would be to enact laws requiring regular reviews of all home healthcare workers.  Including a safe and efficient way to file complaints and resources to investigate the allegations is key.

It is also important to require that home healthcare workers undergo subsequent criminal screenings, ideally at least every 2 years.  Making sure that they are not convicted of any targeted crimes after the initial background check is crucial.

The bottom line is that the safety of anyone needing home health care should be our top concern.  We need to trust that the people who come into our homes to care for us, often at our most vulnerable, are qualified and safe. 

And making sure that all states are on the same page when it comes to that protection makes sense!

Authored by  

I can help you ensure the safety of your family.  By screening anyone who comes to work in your home, you will have taken an important step in protecting what matters most. 

Find out more by visiting my website,, and blog,  I also welcome emails at!

Let’s connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ too!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Small Businesses Need to Band Together!

Have You surrounded yourself with a Team of Small Businesses?
Trying to create a successful business can be a challenge for any small business ~ especially when we are competing with companies much bigger than ours. However, There is Hope!

The Power of Small Business Grows When We Band Together!   "Tweet This"

By joining with other small businesses, we can pool our resources, our knowledge, and our experiences to create a powerful community. Instead of only looking at other businesses as rivals, we need to see ourselves as partners working toward a common goal ~ and building a trusted band of other small business owners is an amazing way to start!

3 Easy Ways to Build a Small Business Community:
  • Join Up  
You can tap into the power of support and collaboration by creating or joining a small business group. A group can help you develop relationships and share advice with your fellow entrepreneurs. It is also a way to have a larger voice in community issues. 

Most importantly, these groups are a great way to Network and Pay it Forward by actively looking for opportunities to help your fellow members.  

One way is to refer those in your "band of businesses" to your own clients, and in turn they may do the same. We all know that great Networking is a two-way street. By promoting the goods and services of other small businesses, they will most likely be sure to return the favor.  

If meeting in person is not possible, or you want to widen your small business community, you can create a “virtual” group and meet online.

Either way, you are building a like-minded network of resources and business opportunities.
  • Share the Wealth of Your Knowledge
Large companies have the option of dipping into pools of talent in-house. Small businesses don’t often have that luxury.

Many times the burden falls squarely on our shoulders alone, even when we may not be entirely sure of ourselves.

Instead, call on your fellow small business owners for advice. You are sure to know someone who has run into the same problem or has a suggestion to help you. In turn, you can share your own knowledge.

As Small business owners we have a lot to contribute ~ and why not use what we know to help others?  
  • Shop Small 
We all know the benefits of doing business with small business as individuals (you can read our thoughts here). But it needn’t stop there.

As small businesses ourselves, we should strive to do business with other small businesses. For example, next time you need businesses cards, forgo the big stores and find a small company for your print needs.

Want a new logo? How about giving the job to an independent design company? At API, we used fellow entrepreneur Penny Perasso to design or logo and other media graphics ~ and we loved the results!

We have also used several small companies when buying client giftsThese small merchants provided us with original and high quality items...and our clients have noticed!  

You may even want to buy business supplies, hire temp workers, or even outsource to a local agency. Any time you can spend your hard earned money with a small merchant, do it!
When Small Business helps Small Business, We have Power.  
By joining forces we can pull on the vast wisdom and experience possessed by our fellow entrepreneurs. And that is definitely a good thing! Are You Ready?

Authored by  

for more information to help your small business! API offers one-on-one 
Small Business Mentoring Services that can be designed just for You! Find out more About Us and our Hiring and Security Consulting services too!

Monday, July 7, 2014

My Top 5 Most Popular Blog Articles

Since starting my blog in August of 2012, I have written at least one or two articles a week.  While I have been lucky enough that all have met with some success, by far these 5 are my most popular.

Different in subject matter, each found their own audience and have continued to be viewed regularly. 

My top piece has been “Memorial Day Observation:  In Thanks and Remembrance

I think these 4 beliefs are what resonate with anyone reading this post and what has contributed to its popularity: 

  • Belief in our Country as a Place of Opportunity
  • Belief in our Children as Perpetuators of our Country’s Future
  • Belief in the Freedom to Pursue our Dreams and Goals
  • Belief in our Citizens as Innovators and Inventors

These are also the beliefs that drive our nation’s Small Business Owners!

In “4 Reasons Why Small Business Owners Need to Use Background Checks”, my goal was to explain the true value of screening during the hiring process.  

Many small business owners still believe that background checks are only for the “big boys”.  They underestimate how using them properly would actually help them save money and time.  

That is why I think this article continues to be viewed, despite originally appearing in early 2013.  Those running small businesses are looking for information to clear the confusion!

Another article that continues to be popular is “6 Tips on Using Background and Due Diligence Checks in Your Business”.

Once the importance of background checks is understood, these tips help Small Business Owners use them to their best advantage.

Many are unsure of how to go about getting quality checks. From choosing a screening company wisely, to knowing who to screen, it is important to have a working knowledge of how background checks benefit you.

As my company motto states (taken from the words of former President Ronald Regan); the key is to “Trust but Verify

My 2 part series on Social Media and Background checks is also widely viewed.....and it seems to have struck a chord with many.

In the first installment, my goal was to outline how you can safely and effectively use social media to get a better picture of your potential hire.  The most important takeaway here is that companies need to be careful to not request passwords to access any sites.  

In part 2, I looked more into the importance of writing a clear and concise policy to cover employee use of social media.  I outline 5 things a good social media policy needs to include to protect both your company and your employees’ freedom of communication.

I think it resonated with many as this topic is a “hot button” issue for many companies.  

Finally, I include in these Top 5 my piece titled “Why You Should Run a Background Check on Yourself”.

This is definitely one of the most frequently clicked on articles I have ever written.  Doing a background check on yourself is certainly one of the most important things you can do.  It is a great way to know what is “out there” about you, whether you are in the hunt for a new job or not.

Many times you will find things that you either forgot, or you didn’t even know, were posted.  I firmly believe that “forewarned is forearmed”.

These are the articles currently in my Top 5.  I invite you to check them out and to take a look at others I have written by going to    

I would also like to thank my readers for your support of my blog and your kind comments along the way.  I am very grateful!

Authored by   

Be sure to take a look at my website,, for more on what Background Check and Due Diligence services I offer.  I can help answer any questions you may have and will put you on the right track for making sound hiring decisions.

I would also love to connect with you on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+!