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The Diligence Briefing from Clarifacts is a periodic, brief email with timely employment background screening news, the latest legislation updates and information on industry trends.

151,000 Jobs Added in January 2016

There were 151,000 jobs added in January 2016. Job gains were seen in the retail trade, food services and drinking places, healthcare and manufacturing industries. There was a slight drop in the national unemployment rate to 4.9 percent. The number of long-term unemployed has shown little movement since June 2015, with 2.1 million people currently unemployed for 27 weeks or more. To view the complete January 2016 Employment Situation from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, click here.

Arizona Unemployment Numbers Remain Steady at 6.3 Percent

The statewide unemployment rate remains steady at 6.3 percent, which is down 0.3 percent from this time last year. According to the Phoenix Business Journal, Arizona public employers added 28,300 jobs in September; and the number of workers in Maricopa and Pinal counties increased from 1.85 million in September 2014 to 1.9 million in September 2015.

Arizona is getting closer to its peak employment numbers from October of 2007, when there were 2,686,300 workers employed. Current employment numbers as of September 2015 are at 2,633,200 workers employed.

New York City Credit Report Law Goes Into Effect September 3

On Thursday, September 3, the New York City law that prohibits employers from using credit checks as part of the employment background screening process will go into effect. For the majority of private NYC employers, an applicant’s credit history can only be used during the hiring process for positions that are exempt from the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act. A few of these exemptions are for employees that are required to have security clearance under state or federal law; are non-clerical employees that have access to trade secrets, intelligence information or national security information; and employees with the authority to use and have access to the employer’s security systems.

Arizona Unemployment Rate Rises to 6.1 Percent in July

Arizona’s unemployment rate rises to 6.1 percent in July, while the national rate remained the same at 5.3 percent. The leading factor for the slight increase is due to a loss of 13,500 education jobs in the month of July. According to Phoenix Business Journal, while there were 67,600 jobs added in July, those 13,500 education employees won’t be re-employed until August and September. The latest jobs numbers show an upward trend toward economic growth and job market. Arizona’s job growth is around 2.7 percent, which is faster than the national average of 2.1 percent.

NYC Follows Nationwide Trend – Adopts “Ban the Box” Legislation

On June 9, Nevada Governor Sandoval signed Senate Bill No. 409, revising the law related to background reports prepared by consumer reporting agencies (such as Clarifacts). Among other revisions, this eliminated the seven-year reporting restrictions for criminal convictions.

Nevada now joins the large majority of states that, like the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, do not have time limitations for which a criminal conviction may be reported. This means employers, if they so choose, can now receive this additional information from their background screening provider.

While this law expands the extent of Nevada criminal records available to employers, you must continue to take into consideration the nature and gravity of the offense or conduct; the time that has passed since the offense, conduct and/or completion of the sentence; the nature of the job held or sought; and other individual assessment criteria listed in the 2012 EEOC Enforcement Guidance.

Nevada Removes Seven-Year Criminal Record Reporting Restriction

On June 9, Nevada Governor Sandoval signed Senate Bill No. 409, revising the law related to background reports prepared by consumer reporting agencies (such as Clarifacts). Among other revisions, this eliminated the seven-year reporting restrictions for criminal convictions.

Nevada now joins the large majority of states that, like the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, do not have time limitations for which a criminal conviction may be reported. This means employers, if they so choose, can now receive this additional information from their background screening provider.

While this law expands the extent of Nevada criminal records available to employers, you must continue to take into consideration the nature and gravity of the offense or conduct; the time that has passed since the offense, conduct and/or completion of the sentence; the nature of the job held or sought; and other individual assessment criteria listed in the 2012 EEOC Enforcement Guidance.

Is There a Need for Background Checks on Volunteer Firefighters?

Emergency managers across the U.S. are debating the need for screening volunteer firefighters. According to Emergency Management, some states, such as New York, have laws requiring background checks to ensure volunteer firefighters aren’t carrying a sex offense conviction. There are two sides to the debate: Those who believe there’s a need for background checks saying, “There is the potential for our volunteers to come into contact with children or vulnerable populations, and we want to ensure that in those instances we are doing our due diligence.” And then there are those concerned that background checks will scare off potential volunteers, since they are willingly donating their time to help.

“The upside to a background check is that you have confidence in the people you are working with, you can feel comfortable sending them out in the community under your own banner,” said Bruce Fitzgerald, director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency.

Listen to Clarifacts President Kevin Klimas’ radio interview on The Nonprofit Journal LIVE with Dee Suomala as he discusses the important role background checks play in volunteer screening, and better ways to protect your organization, assets, employees and other volunteers.

Arizona Unemployment Rate Drops to Lowest Since June 2008 – Not Due to Job Growth

Arizona’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.5 percent to 6.2 percent. According to the AZCentral.com article, the decline is a substantial drop, but was said to be largely driven by fewer unemployed people rather than because of job growth. The Super Bowl and spring training season may have had an impact on the latest hiring data as many short-term positions in the hospitality industry were added in the past few months. And, even though Arizona has still yet to replace thousands of jobs that were lost during the downturn, it still had its best first-quarter for jobs since 2007.

To see the latest unemployment rate numbers in your state, click here.

Protect Your Employees from Identity Theft in the Workplace

Identity theft in the workplace is growing as fraud and security breaches become all too common. Many organizations aren’t ensuring they have the correct processes in place to protect employee and customer information and data. According to an interview with ID theft expert Johnny May, to better protect your employees, “you need to focus on employee cybersecurity education, ensure third parties and vendors are not inadvertently putting employees at risk, and have services in place to help employees protect their identities in the wake of a corporate breach.” May believes that criminals used to focus on targeting consumers, but now, they are targeting employees in the workplace.

Want to learn more about how you can help protect your employees from becoming victims of identity theft? Here are some important tips for acquiring, storing and destroying information.

Google Executive Chairman Urges Congress to Increase Work Visa Availability

In an attempt to grow the economy and improve the selection of highly-skilled workers in the U.S., Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt wants Congress to increase the number of work visas made available to foreigners. According to U.S. News & World Report, Schmidt stated that the U.S. would benefit from more people with specialized technical skills, as those workers would start their own businesses and in turn, hire more workers. If passed, the bill “would expand the current annual cap on H-1B visas from 65,000 to between 115,000 and 195,000 visas, depending on market condition and demand.”

Are you set up with E-Verify to ensure your applicants have a legal right to work? Ensure your organization is compliant with state immigration laws.