The Limitations of References and Referrals

Aug 24, 2017
Have you ever played a "matchmaker" by introducing two people and it didn't quite work out as you envisioned it would? Don't feel badly... we all have. When this happens in business relationships, the consequences are much higher! It is very tempting for a business owner or manager to hire someone who was recommended by another employee, a friend, or family member. The enticement to 'take someone's word' goes beyond just hiring employees. We see vendors being selected just because they provided great references, tenants and residents approved based on a recommendation from a previous landlord, contracts signed with partners and franchisees after a couple of phone calls to associates, and country club membership applications approved based on another member's referral. As a matter of fact, on just about every application for any of the above-mentioned situations, there is a section for "references", as if knowing someone guarantees future conduct. Asking for references and accepting referrals are good practices. Making decisions based only on those without conducting thorough background checks can spell disaster. Consider the following: Does anyone ever provide a reference w…
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Discrimination Allowed with Employee Screening? Well, Sometimes.

Jul 23, 2017
Discrimination is allowed with employee screening.  This shocking statement may surprise you, especially those of you who are either human resources professionals or employment attorneys.  Those individuals familiar with Title VII (of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), know that it prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.  They also know that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, forbids discrimination against individuals who are 40 years of age or older. Not to be left out, the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) has further stated that discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation is covered by Title VII's protection against employment discrimination based upon sex.  Given all of the above, how can discrimination be permitted with employee screening? An employer is able to discriminate, i.e., differentiate employee screening processes based upon job classifications.  As long as all individuals within the same job classification are treated equally, it is permitted to have different employee screening procedures by job classification. For example, an employer might define job classes as ho…
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Act Before Eviction Judgments Disappear From Credit Reports

Jun 25, 2017
As I wrote last month, big changes are coming to credit reports as of July 1st.  For the multi-family and property management industry, the most significant impact is on resident screening and tenant screening.  Why?  Because eviction judgments will disappear from all credit reports as of July 1, 2017. The three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, as part of a lawsuit settlement with various state Attorney Generals, agreed to the creation of the National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP).  For companies that use credit reports, the biggest change will be in the decreased reporting of public records, specifically tax liens and civil judgements.  Eviction judgments, such as forcible detainer and unlawful detainer judgments, are civil judgments, and thus they will disappear from credit bureau reports on July 1st. The reason virtually all civil judgments (and about half of tax liens) will vanish from credit reports is the NCAP requirements that (1) sufficient PII (personally identifiable information) exist on the record, and (2) that public records be collected and updated at least every 90 days. PII includes name, address, date of birth, and social security number.  To b…
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Big Changes Coming to Credit Reports

May 21, 2017
Big changes are coming to credit reports as of July 1st.  The three credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian agreed to the creation of the National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP), as part of a settlement with New York Attorney General, Eric T. Schneiderman.  The most significant change for users of credit reports will be in the decreased reporting of public records, specifically tax liens and civil judgments.  Bankruptcies, however, should experience no reduction in their being reported on credit reports. The reason for most civil judgments and tax liens disappearing from credit reports is the NCAP requirements that (1) sufficient PII (personally identifiable information) exist on the record, and (2) that public records be collected and updated at least every 90 days. PII includes name, address, date of birth, and social security number.  To be sufficient, at least three of the four PII must be present on the public record.  Since most civil judgments and tax liens do not have dates of birth and complete social security numbers, they will largely disappear from credit reports starting July 1st. For resident screening and tenant screening users, this means that eviction …
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