February



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| Criminal Record Checks
February 19, 2014
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D.C. Council member Tommy Wells introduced “ban-the-box” legislation

D.C. Council member Tommy Wells introduced “ban-the-box” legislation that would bar employers from inquiring about job applicants' criminal records, a practice he says hinders employment opportunities for returning citizens. "The bill would only allow employers to ask about an applicant's record of conviction once a conditional offer of employment has been extended," he said. "The bill would continue our efforts to address the challenges facing our returning citizens."

District government statistics show that about 60,000 residents have criminal records. Each year, an estimated 8,000 residents return to the city after serving prison sentences and roughly 50% are incarcerated again within three years. While most on hand supported the bill, Kathy Hollinger, the president of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, argued that small businesses will essentially have to use valuable time on paperwork to justify not hiring a returning citizen. Rowe countered that Wells' legislation will not require a business to hire anyone but will give returning citizens a fair chance to be employed. Businesses will not be required to hire someone who has committed a crime in the arena in which the business specializes.

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| Referencing and Verification Services
February 18, 2014
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Dealing With Lies in Job Applications

In difficult economic times, job applicants may try to gain a competitive edge by embellishing their achievements or omitting potentially damaging information from their CVs.

By inflating exam grades or fabricating work experience, applicants not only risk embarrassment but may commit a criminal offence under the Fraud Act 2006. Robust recruitment practices, such as following up references and incisive questioning at interview, have never been more important. If employers suspect an applicant has been dishonest, they should go the extra mile before making an offer and investigate that gap in employment history or request copy certificates from the candidate or their education provider.

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February 13, 2014
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New data protection legislation being discussed by Europe's Justice and Home Affairs Ministers has the potential to place an undue financial burden on small firms

New data protection legislation being discussed by Europe's Justice and Home Affairs Ministers has the potential to place an undue financial burden on small firms, says the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the British Bankers' Association (BBA).

Proposals under discussion would require small firms that hold details of 5,000 customers or more to employ a Data Protection Officer at an estimated cost of £64,000 per year, conduct a data protection impact assessment costing £11,200 per year and carry out a compliance review every two years. FSB research found that one in five (19%) of small firms already consider data protection to be the most burdensome regulation to comply with.

The 1995 EU Data Protection Directive established a framework for data protection amongst EU Member States. However, since 1995, there have been numerous technological developments, notably the increased use of personal computers and handheld devices; the rapid expansion of the Internet; and the emergence of social media.

The EU Commission believes that the law should be updated to reflect these changes and to provide more harmonisation across EU Member States. "These new rules have the potential to place real burdens on businesses across Europe,” said Irene Graham, Managing Director of Business Finance, BBA. “We would urge EU politicians to reconsider their approach to ensure small businesses are not unduly affected."

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