Sunday, October 30, 2022

Can an Employer ask You for access to your Phone and Social Media Accounts?

Can an Employer make an employee give them access to their phone and social media accounts during an Investigation?

This question recently popped up on a popular Q & A site, and we decided to weigh in, and here is our response…

“If by “investigation” you mean the employment background check, then the answer is No! Potential employers do not have the right to your passwords, phone, etc. However, they are entitled to look at any of your social media that is labeled “Public”, or even posts that your “friends” have shared that include you. That is why it is so important to be cautious about anything you post online, especially when you are in the midst of a job search!

Now, if by “investigation” you mean a company investigation into potential criminal activity or actions that violate company policy, then while the answer is still “No”, there are exceptions. Companies have every right to access all information that is on company property, and that includes company laptops, computers, and phones. When it comes to personal devices, then most likely they would need a court order to compel you to provide the access needed".

See the original question and additional answers here!

When it comes to your personal devices and social media accounts, employers do not have the right to require or force you to give them access. Your passwords are private and they should never even ask you to share them.

But that does not mean that they can’t do an online search to see what is “out there” about you in the public domain.

That is why it is so important to be aware of what you post on social media sites and who you share it with.

No matter what precautions you take, people, and that includes employers, can often see more than you realize! That is why it is so important to be proactive and to recognize your rights when it comes to your passwords and social media accounts.

Despite privacy settings, probably very little of what you post online is truly private. Do you know what your friends or “online acquaintances” are posting or sharing online about you?

Most employers or their agents run an applicant’s name through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. to see what is “out there”. For this reason, we recommend any job seeker do a Background Check on themselves prior to putting out that first application.

What most companies do not do, and definitely should not do, is request an applicant’s passwords to access those accounts. Checking to see what is readily available to the public on those platforms is a far cry from asking for passwords to do so.  As an employer, it is not wise to attempt to gain this information from anyone.  

In fact, in many cities and states it is illegal.

Some states have passed their own laws to prohibit the request of passwords (and we predict many more will follow suit) *Source1. It is a clear invasion of privacy to ever request this type of personal information.  

Despite regulations governing the request of social media passwords, applicants and employees still need to be mindful of what they post. 

The truth is, employers often use whatever information they can obtain to help them make a hiring decision. It is important that you know what information can be seen by those not even in “your circle” and to think about what kind of conclusions might be drawn from it.

Your best course of action is to imagine anything you post could possibly be seen by a wide variety of people ~ your family, friends, neighbors, teachers, employers, and even those that are strangers to you. Using that as a guide, 

do you still want to share that post? Asking yourself that question BEFORE you share is the wise way to go".

Discover more about how you can protect your online “image” and make what you post on Social Media work FOR you and not AGAINST you here!

When it comes to your Employment or Job Search, Social Media sites can be helpful or harmful ~ and that is entirely up to you! Being careful what you post and who you share it with is a great start…and can go a long way in helping you get and keep the job you want!

Authored by  

Need help in getting your Resume or Social Media “Background Check Ready”? Contact API Today. We can help!

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Sunday, September 25, 2022

What can You do if you get a "Negative" Reference?

Do You have any legal recourse if you get a “Negative” Reference during your Background Check? 

“If you are passed over for a job because of negative references even though there was no consent to speak with anyone and they won’t disclose who or what was said about you? Is there any legal recourse?”

This question was recently asked on a popular Q & A forum and we decided to weigh in…

“No “permission” is necessary for anyone doing an employment background check to speak with your past employers, especially since you have already signed a release permitting the search. Your best course of action when it comes to past employers and references is to be proactive and speak with each before you ever apply for a job. That means contacting each past employer to verify what they will disclose about you. You should also contact any references you list to let them know they may be contacted. Be sure to tell them what position(s) you are applying for and whether they are willing to act as a reference at all. Bottom line is this…be proactive and KNOW what your references and past employers will say about you long before you start your job search”.

You can see the original post and other answers here!

Waiting until after that negative reference is never the answer!

Despite having written about these subjects before, it bears repeating…when it comes time to apply for any job, it is vital that you choose your references wisely and know what your past employers will say about you first!

When it comes to your References, a little preparation goes a long way.

Do You know what Your References will say about You? 

“Don’t fall prey to one of the biggest mistakes a job seeker can make ~ listing your former employers, supervisors, or professors as references without asking them first!

This simple step can save you from the embarrassment of a less-than-stellar recommendation and give your references a most welcome heads up. In fact, this common courtesy can greatly increase your chances of getting the job. 

Your references will have had the opportunity to gather their thoughts beforehand and will not be caught off guard ~ giving you the best chance of your references working for you instead of against you.

When references are contacted unaware, they often stumble. Dates and titles elude them. Specific projects you may have worked on or tasks you lead are unmentioned. This can lead to an unimpressive reference report.

These 7 Tips will help you get the best References:

  1. Make a list ~ create a list of present and past employers, managers, supervisors, co-workers, and others that may be willing to serve as a reference. 
  2. Check it twice ~ take a hard look at this list and keep those that really know you and your work well.
  3. Spread the word ~ reach out to each of those who made your final list and see if they are willing to act as a reference. 
  4. Fill in the details ~ make sure everyone on your final list knows the job you are applying for and with what company. Also give them a quick rundown of the skills the company is looking for. 
  5. Do a double check ~ verify that you have up to date contact information for each of your references (phone, email, etc.) and the best time and way to reach them.
  6. Create your final reference list ~ this list should include all pertinent information for each reference (name, company and title, contact number, email). It is also important to give a short description of how you know them and the dates of that relationship.
  7. Don’t forget the “Thank You” ~ a thank you note to each of your references can go a long way, especially if you end up needing their help again in the future!

Learn more about how you can get your references to help you get the job in “Do You know what your References will say about You? Be Smart, Ask First”.

Tips to Help You get the most out of your References and Employment Verifications!

Knowing in advance exactly what information past employers will reveal during a background check is also key. 

Not only does it give you a heads up, it also allows you time to prepare any mitigating information you can give to your potential employer.

It is just as important to be proactive when it comes to your past employers!

Do you really know what a former employer will say about you?

“Employers can choose to reveal anything about you, your work performance, and even reason for leaving as long as it is the truth! However, that doesn’t mean that they will! 

Due to fear of litigation, many employers choose to only verify a former employee’s dates and title of employment. Some will also share whether that person is eligible for rehire. 

But what they will share is all dependent upon company policy and is not necessarily consistent company to company.

The best thing any job applicant can do is to know beforehand what a former employer will say about them long before they ever apply for a job”.

Check out the steps you need to take to prepare yourself for the employment verification check check here!

The bottom line is this ~ when it comes to your job search and the inevitable employment background check ~ it is always best to be prepared.

Knowing in advance exactly what your references and past employers will reveal goes a long way toward relieving the angst of what your prospective new employer will find. It will also help you land the job ~ and that is your ultimate goal!

Authored by 

Need help preparing for your employment background check? Contact API Today. We will answer your questions and help you make sure your reference and resume is “background check ready”!

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Thursday, September 1, 2022

Happy Labor Day!


On “Labor Day (we) pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers”.

The origins of Labor Day and the Labor Movement began during “one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters” during the Industrial Revolution. At that time “the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks” and “children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country”.

The workers, especially the very poor and recent immigrants, “faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks”.

As a result of these working conditions, labor unions gained traction and companies fought back. They organized strikes in an attempt to increase safety and pay, while decreasing the grueling working hours.

“In the wake of this massive unrest and in an attempt to repair ties with American workers, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories. On June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed it into law”.

Learn more about the history of Labor Day here!

The fight to ensure workplace safety and fair, equitable treatment continues today.

The passage of important labor protection laws were crucial in this fight. They gave the American worker increased job safety, the right to employment benefits, and fair hiring and promotion practices. 

The Top 8 of these Labor Protection Laws govern:

  • Minimum Wage ~ ensures American workers receive a standardized “minimum wage” for their work
  • Workplace Safety ~ Occupations Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA)
  • Health Coverage ~ legislation to make health insurance a right for workers as most medium and large sized businesses
  • Social Security ~ Social Security Act was signed into law in 1935
  • Unemployment Benefits ~ helps those who are unemployed for “reasons outside their control”
  • Whistleblower Protections ~ protects the rights of employees if they speak up about an employer who violates the law
  • Family Leave ~ Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) signed into law by President Clinton in 1993.
  • Employment-Based Discrimination ~ The Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for businesses to discriminate against an individual on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin”. In 2009 the Ledbetter Fair Play Act increased the list to include women and minorities.

Find out more in “Laws that Protect Employees”.

So while we need to understand the origins and reasons we celebrate Labor Day, we must not forget the number one reason to pay tribute ~ the American workers themselves!

We are the laborers, the innovators, and the dreamers. We are the teachers, the caretakers, the craftsmen. The scientists, the protectors, and the multitude of other workers that make up the labor force of this nation.

It is our contributions day in and day out that are the backbone of our nation. We keep ourselves, our families, our cities, states, and country running and successful. 

And now it’s time to celebrate! Happy Labor Day!

Authored by   

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Monday, August 1, 2022

Can You “Edit” your Background Check?

Is it possible to “edit” or change your background check report?

This question was recently asked on a popular Q & A site and it got us thinking.

Do people really think they can change the results of a background check report to either make it more “favorable” or correct any errors?

So we decided to weigh in, and here is our answer…

“If you mean can you question or dispute any of the findings contained in a background check, then the answer is Yes. It doesn’t matter whether the investigating company is HireRight or another screening service, you have the right to dispute the findings contained in that check.

However, you cannot simply “edit” that report yourself. If you find that your background check report contains errors, you need to immediately inform the employer that the report has errors. In fact, it is your right to not only dispute the findings but have the chance prove the findings are false or provide information to mitigate them.

The FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) requires employers to follow a specific process when they are confronted with information that might negatively impact their hiring decision.

Before making a final decision, Employers must:

Notify you, in writing, that negative information was found during your background check.

Provide you with a copy of the background check report, including contact information for the company that provided the report.

Provide you with a copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act”.

Allow you a minimum of 5 business days to provide proof that the information found is in error or mitigate the findings with additional information.

So, while you cannot simply “edit” a background check, you have every right to refute the findings and have the chance to prove they are in error”.

The fact is that, unfortunately, background check errors do happen! 

Job seekers can find themselves confronted with misinformation found in their background checks. They are then forced to prove not only that the findings wrong, but also to keep these errors from popping up again. This can be stressful and hard to do.

It is simply not possible for you to go in and “edit” or alter any information contained in your report after the fact. And while 

So, if you are looking for a job, or even being offered a promotion, it is best that you learn how to tackle this potential issue head on. And while it is your right to dispute and “fix” any errors in your background check, the better course of action is to be pro-active instead!

Be Proactive! Check your Background Check report for errors before you apply for any job!

“The best way is to Do a Background Check on Yourself before you ever even start your job search!

Hiring delays are never in your or an employer’s best interest. The wait keeps you both in limbo. You are stalled in your job search and the employer is unable to hire for the position they need. 

Taking the time before you apply to make sure that any information “out there” about you is factual simply makes sense for you both!

It will prevent you from being unduly surprised and allow the employer to more quickly get the information they need to make an informed hiring decision. 

By pre-doing a background check on yourself, you will be able to see exactly what an employment background check will uncover and give you the opportunity to double check the results and see if they are accurate”.

Once you receive your report, it is essential that you check it for any and all errors. 

Possible errors may include:

  • Misspellings of your name
  • Incorrect or Missing Date of Birth
  • Missing or Incorrect Social Security Number
  • Incorrect Past Addresses
  • Criminal Charges attributed to you in error

If you find any discrepancies, then now is the time to fix them….and here is where you need to have proof.

This proof should include:

  • Documents listing your legal name
  • A full list of your past addresses and your dates of residence at each
  • If incorrect criminal history is found ~ obtain a copy of the record directly from the court and find out how you can get any errors corrected
  • If education /degree history is in error ~ contact the school/university directly to get the record corrected and obtain a report from them that shows your updated/corrected information

And then make sure that your resume is “Background Check Ready” moving forward. Find out more in “Errors in your Background Check Report? Find out what You need to do Now”!

Background Check errors do occur. That is why your best bet is to know what is “out there” about you and fix any problems before you even apply for any new job or promotion.

Not only will it save you unnecessary worry and frustration, it will increase the chances of getting the job!

Authored by  

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