APSCREEN About Us,Employment Screening,Tenant Screening
Thomas C. Lawson, APSCREEN CEO, CFE, CII, Negligent Hiring Expert Witness

Discover What Every Employer Needs to Know About the Legal Use of a Background Check to Hire the Right Candidate & How to Protect Your Company from Negligent Hiring Lawsuits

Advice from an Expert!

It all started with APSCREEN

Some frank talk about employment screening … Brace yourself!
Tom Lawson, CEO, CFE, CII & Expert Witness


Who we are:

"No other company compares to APSCREEN. They were the first and are still the best. Their customer service is superior and their background screeners are expertly trained. You get a thorough job done in a forward-compliant environment, and that is a must when it comes to hiring people in today's workplace environment.  "

Terry LaMotte
-Sares-Regis Group

Support Our Veterans

APSCREEN (The Applicant Screening Company of America, Incorporated) is the oldest, continuously operated factual employment screening company in the United States, formed in Los Angeles on January 1, 1980, and incorporated in California on July 5, 1988 by Thomas C. Lawson, CFE, CII. Tom's Curriculum Vitae and case samples are available by contacting us via email. Also check out recent letters of recognition from President of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners as well as the Special Investigation's Unit of Gray Davis' State of CA Office.

APSCREEN is the first and foremost a Factual Employment Screening firm in the form of a Consumer Reporting Agency, and always has been. We don't skirt that issue to avoid Consumer Protection Laws, in order to sell incomplete decisional information that should be avoided in the employment setting. We helped write the rules, before there were any rules, so we live by the rules. Non-CRAs who sell incompetent (non-index date) end-user criminal data for employment decisions are dangerous to the American workplace plain and simple.

APSCREEN was in the employment screening business when there was no background check industry, in fact over a decade and a half before it became fashionable to be in the background screening business. When we started, there were two other national firms, one of which the founder died, and the other changed its business model to go database. We are not nor have we ever been, a Private Investigation firm reinvented to suggest longevity in this discipline or otherwise.

Much of the published works on the topic have roots in previously published works by and about our founder, Thomas C. Lawson, widely considered a pioneer and "modern-day guru of employment screening" (according to W. Barry Nixon in his book Background Screening and Investigations.

With humility and respect to the reader, this is asserted because we are extremely tired and wary of the corporate background check industry hype that leads clients astray and gives a false sense of applicant selection security in the name of unethical profits.

The time has come to stand up for doing background checks the right way! And to reveal the truth about what's out there.

What we do:

First, we thoroughly identify the candidate. The Law Enforcement community will tell you that the single most important aspect to conducting inquiries on suspects is to thoroughly identify them. If you don't know who your candidate really is, or where they have been, you cannot determine applicable historical aspects potentially germane to their candidacy. Translated? If you don't know who they are, or where they've been, you can't find out the extent of their crimes.

APSCREEN performs between 9 and 21 processes to determine identity and prior addresses. Our process reveals that over 60% of the applications received daily from our clients contain false and/or omitted identification components, essential in determining the who and where. If the candidate's name is 'Jones' and they give you 'Smith' and nobody checks that out, you will miss the convictions on Smith, and you get a criminal through your doors who could rape the women, molest the children and steal from you. One $2 social security trace will not accomplish this. Quick and fast are not how one performs competent due diligence, efficient and thorough are.

Harsh? You bet - so are the criminals who we do our best to keep away from your front door. Many do not know the extent of the duty a business owner has to protect not only the fellow employees in the workplace but the customers as well. It's actually the law so how can you ensure factual compliance with a cheap and incompetent background check?

We believe that the industry lost its way from its mid-1990s beginning with the proliferation of easy or instant background checks available over the internet. Of course, this concept isn't new – we lost a big health care provider account in 1982 to an ex-motorcycle cop who bought the Los Angeles County Superior Court microfiche for $5.60 and resold searches at 5 bucks each.

That ultimately led to the hiring of a hospital orderly who ended up calling-up female patients on the phone while on his mid-day break with the lab results of their pap smears (which he gained access to through his daily assigned task of carrying them from the lab to the doctor's offices in the main hospital), so he could tell them they had cancer, especially if they didn't. Two women committed suicide, 12 other families were forever scarred and that was our founder's first negligent hiring expert witness case, settling for approximately $14 million.

Click here for some of our more recent cases.

"We have found dozens of potential candidates for employment that we felt would have been a quality hire.

That was until we ran a background check through APSCREEN, only to discover they had criminal records. We are still using APSCREEN today."

Michele Dumalski
-Yosemite Waters

APSCREEN screens candidates under a three disciplines: Aerospace, MILSPEC and Police, through a combination of HANDS-ON, EYES-ON processes on EVERY application at EVERY step.

Our criminal checks are hand-searched at every jurisdiction that we can identify, and only through title-grade/NPRRA/PRRN level researchers who go directly to the courts every day.

We only use proprietary criminal index databases in order to generate leads, not determine the final extent of criminal activities. We do not believe in private criminal repositories for decisional use because they are not accurate, and they are not complete; end of story. We also believe that while some online court-provided databases are pretty good, no matter how good they are, you will still see cops at the courthouse, verifying the files before they testify under oath. That is our standard as well.

We do, however believe in private industry's ability to merge information into widely searchable databases that provide excellent cross-referencing tools, but neither ARE NOT nor WILL EVER BE a replacement for searching the public record by hand at the court clerk's counter.

If you buy into the concept of doing cheap background checks, you will get what you pay for. Luckily, the industry is turning around in the aftermath of the corporate players leaving after raping the employment screening marketplace, screwing it up for long-term, legitimate players, and worst of all, putting criminals into the workplace which many times has resulted in the basis for our expert witness testimony on the subjects of Negligent Hiring and Retention.

We understand that you may end up spending many times the improperly perceived cost to do a good background check, but with negligent hiring lawsuit settlements and awards in the millions of dollars, where is the economy if you gamble with a cheap background check and lose? All it takes is one bad hire and you're screwed and likely fired!

We don't believe in going offshore either. India is not where we want our customer service people - Rancho Santa Margarita, California, USA is. We recently joined the new Concerned CRA's Professional Association to drive these points home.

APSCREEN has long represented the major credit bureaus as compliant resellers because we believe (contrary to our opinion of the EEOC's recent false and misleading statements about credit reports having a disparate impact on certain races) that a credit report is a key component in determining many things not just payment history.

"APSCREEN gets the results quickly and everyone that we've dealt with since 1997 has been very courteous and professional.

We wouldn't use any other company for background checks and highly recommend them."

Phyllis Crofford
- FDC Management

We have published letters to the editor at HR Magazine to make our point. APSCREEN believes that it makes no difference if a person is white, black, brown or purple a default is a default. Sure almost everyone has financial hardship at some time in their lives, so what! It's the repeat offenders that interest us. Who wants an employee who is getting creditor calls at all hours of the night because they habitually can't manage their finances?

While there are recently passed laws in some states designed to remove credit reports from as many employment categories as possible in a misguided attempt to provide for the employment of financial undesirables, we support the fight in concert with the three major credit bureaus to preserve this critical decisional tool. Notwithstanding any law, there will ALWAYS be a way to legally incorporate many if not most of the critical employment-based historical information components contained in a credit report other than credit history into your decision should payment histories be outlawed. That's our job and our commitment.

We also provide driving histories because like credit reports, the RAND Corporation and Stanford Research Institute concluded in the 1970s that these reports are "clear determinants of societal responsibility attitudes.� With criminal histories, there are no better predictors of workplace attitudes in our humble, 30-year opinion.

Who we associate with and why:

National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) – We are a Founding Member of NAPBS which in the absence of a quality level-specific industry trade association is the only one representing the employment screening industry, as a collective. We do not have, nor will we seek NAPBS Accreditation, since, as a Certified Consumer Reporting Agency and a Certified Reseller of the major credit bureaus, our standards of professionalism and audit meet or exceed the NAPBS Accreditation program and would be thus, redundant. The support of which, also would result in a significantly higher cost to maintain, meaning a higher cost to our APSCREEN family members, for basic service. Contact us for more on the APSCREEN Factual Employment Screening Standard of Care, long recognized as the Gold Standard in Human Resource Management Best Practices, and the standard against which all others are judged.

Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) – We are a Life Member since 1993 and the longest-serving member of the Editorial Review Board of FRAUD Magazine. This organization has 40,000 members worldwide and has only been in business since 1989. There is no finer organization dedicated to the eradication of fraud, or who has more commingled tentacles in the private sector and law enforcement other than ASIS, and frankly in our view, the ACFE has done a better job of merging the two. We are committed to the ACFE for life.

American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) -- Chairman Emeritus (1990) Orange County Chapter (founding chapter) and a member since 1981. ASIS is the rock steady association of private security professionals who made up much of our client base in the 1980s and '90s.

Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) -- Professional Member not Vendor member since 1981 through PIRA, and subsequent direct membership. SHRM is a group of over 80,000 HR professionals. Professional membership signifies a practicing Human Resources Management Professional instead of just a salesman of HR-related products. SHRM is the root of the assemblage of the HR world. As with all HR practitioners, we need them for innumerable reasons.

Tom Lawson founded APSCREEN in 1980 and is the individual who pioneered the concept of background checks for employment screening. Lawson is also one of the first Expert Witnesses to work on Negligent Hiring lawsuits.

His first clients came from the aerospace industry and they demanded the highest level of professional background checks, the same type of check still provided today.

Lawson currently serves on the Editorial Review Board for FRAUD Magazine and has numerous notable publications including Business Week, Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, Orange County Business Journal, as well as CBS syndicated talk radio and interviews with ABC's American Agenda and NBC's Extra.

Professionals in Human Resources Management (PIHRA) -- Professional Member not Vendor member since 1981 and 1986. PIHRA is a Los Angeles-based large HR association. Not always happy with their policies but always happy with the members many of whom are dear friends and whom share a common goal of excellent HR management styles.

CALHR – Listserv Member founded by our departed friend Max Wagoner who created a simple list serve where we get more daily, no BS, realistic, reasonable, nuts & bolts, meat & potatoes practical and eminently useable HR practice information than anywhere else. Presently moderated by Linda Ross and David Kalish, CALHR is the daily source for keeping HR sane.

National Public Record Research Association (NPRRA) – Member. This was the public record research group that started it all – cut its teeth in UCC research decades ago. Like the PRRN, the NPRRA is a source for quality court researchers throughout the U.S. who maintain an ethical and professional standard of going to the courts every day, rather than just going online. Banks are the main source of work for the NPRRA. Lending decisions are made on this research and as a result, it had better be thorough.

Public Record Retriever Network (PRRN) -- Founding Member. Mike Sankey created this platform for the standardization of the public record research discipline. Mike started the first online, 50-state DMV assemblage, sold it and revolutionized the public record industry.

Council of International Investigators (CII) – Certified Member since 1987.

World Association of Detectives – Member

World Investigators Network – Member

We stay on board with the CII, WAD and WIN because these three groups represent contacts, affiliations and solid, proven & ethical sources in all free ports and not-so-free ports, worldwide.

When we need to go offshore, we go here.

Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA) – Expert Witness Member. This is the best interdisciplinary Expert Witness fellowship we have found.

What we Provide:

... and the best customer service on the planet!

7,000 APSCREEN  clients requesting tens of millions of background checks since 1980 can’t be wrong.

Spend the money and do the job right! Call now at 800 277 2733