By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor www.landlinemag.com
The way FMCSA reports driver violations to the mega database that feeds data to the Pre-Employment Screening Program and Comprehensive, Safety, Accountability enforcement program is changing.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will publish a notice on Monday, Dec. 2, that outlines the way violations will be reported to the Motor Carrier Management Information System, or MCMIS.
That database supplies the roadside inspection and violation data to the PSP and the CSA program. The PSP program provides listings of all driver roadside inspection violations and crash reports to prospective employers. CSA scores and weights violations to determine motor carrier and driver compliance in various categories. The motor carrier rankings are public, but the driver ratings are used internally at FMCSA for enforcement only.
Drivers and motor carriers currently have the option to contest violation data in MCMIS. The challenges, called DataQ, are submitted to FMCSA and routed back to the originating law enforcement agency.
Before the changes outlined in the notice, if a driver were to be found not guilty or have a citation dismissed in court, there was no policy in place to have the corresponding violation removed from MCMIS. That led to inconsistencies in how challenges were handled state to state.
With the announced changes, challenged violations that have a corresponding citation that is either dismissed or given a “not guilty” verdict will have the challenged violation removed.
Citations that are dismissed by a court but have fines or court fees assessed will be reported as convictions to the system.
If the court convicts the driver of a charge different from the original citation, the original corresponding violation will remain in MCMIS. There will be a note added to the violation that the legal challenge “Resulted in conviction of a different charge.” In the PSP program, the violation will also remain with a similar notation of being convicted of a different charge. For the purposes of CSA, the severity weight, or points, associated with the violation will be reduced to the lowest value of either the original violation or the newly convicted corresponding violation.
The notice says the changes will only apply to inspections on or after the implementation date of the policy.
After Monday, the public will have 30 days to comment on the prospective application of the changes. All comments should include Docket No. FMCSA-2013-0457. Comments can be submitted:
•By fax at 202-493-2251;
•By mail to Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20590; or
•By hand at the same address listed above.
Findings show trucking companies that use PSP have lower crash and driver out-of-service rates
WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–November 25, 2013– The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently released the findings of a safety impact analysis study of the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP). The program, launched in 2010, provides employers with instant, secure access to a driver’s FMCSA safety information as part of the pre-hire process. According to the study results, truck and bus companies using PSP have decreased both their crash rates and the instances of drivers placed out-of-service due to safety violations.
“NIC is pleased to partner with FMCSA on this important safety initiative,” said Elizabeth Pemmerl, NIC Technologies General Manager. “The recent study findings show that the service is having a direct, positive impact on highway safety.”
The study analyzed carriers who use PSP on at least a monthly basis against a control group of carriers that are not PSP users. Companies using PSP realized, on average, an 8 percent reduction in their crash rate and a 17 percent decrease in their driver out-of-service rate. The study found that carriers using PSP prevented nearly 3,600 drivers from being placed out-of-service at the roadside and 863 commercial motor vehicle crash occurrences.
The Pre-Employment Screening Program was developed and is managed through a unique no-cost contract. NIC Technologies performs all work, including program enhancements and mobile development, at no cost to FMCSA. NIC is supported by fees paid by companies and drivers that elect to use the PSP system.
For details on the Pre-Employment Screening Program and how carriers, hiring companies and drivers can participate, visit http://www.psp.fmcsa.dot.gov.
NIC (NASDAQ:EGOV) is the nation’s leading provider of official government websites, online services, and secure payment processing solutions. The company’s innovative eGovernment services help reduce costs and increase efficiencies for government agencies, citizens, and businesses across the country. The family of NIC companies provides eGovernment solutions for more than 3,500 federal, state, and local agencies across the United States. Additional information is available at http://www.egov.com.
CONTACT: NIC Elizabeth Pemmerl, 703-841-6360
General Manager email@example.com
SOURCE: NIC Copyright Business Wire 2013
By Lianna Brinded
US workers abusing prescription drugs is a growing concern for companies despite the fall in testing positive for illegal drugs.
According to data by medical-testing company Quest Diagnostics, US workers, which are subject to random drug tests and pre-employment screening, are becoming more sophisticated when it comes to passing drug tests as the tumble in people testing positive does not correlate with government statistics that show use is on the rise.
Quest data shows that US employees testing positive for drugs has dropped sharply since 1988 after reviewing more than 125 million urine drug tests administered from 1988 to last year.
Overall, 3.5% of samples came back positive last year compared with 13.6% in 1988.
However, positive tests for prescription painkillers Vicodin and OxyContin rose 172% and 71%, respectively, from 2005 to last year.
Quest also found that positive tests for other prescription drugs, such as Adderall, more than doubled between 2002 and 2012.
Read more here
The Lone Star State is suing the Obama administration in Lubbock, Texas, federal court over what is considered a law that compromises public safety and workplace security, according to a statement on Thursday by a public-interest law group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and out-and-out criminal allegations.
According to Judicial Watch’s web site, Texas Attorney General Gregory Abbott intends to stop the enforcement of — what he and other Texans believe — unreasonable regulations by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission such as a ban on employers screening-out convicted felons during the hiring process.
With little, if any, media coverage in 2012, the EEOC promulgated new guidelines that forbid private sector executives from denying jobs to applicants who have a criminal history.
The EEOC’s guidelines prohibit employers from using an applicants’ felony convictions in hiring decisions unless the employer can prove the felony disqualification is job related for the position … and consistent with business necessity, according to Judicial Watch.
reported by Huffington Post
Target plans to stop asking prospective employees about their criminal records in initial job applications at all of its U.S. stores, a company spokesperson confirmed to The Huffington Post on Tuesday.
The Minneapolis-based company had been facing pressure to do so from grassroots advocacy group TakeAction Minnesota. Target nevertheless reserved the right to ask about criminal backgrounds after the completion of an applicant’s first interview.
“Target is an industry leader in developing a nuanced criminal background check process that gives qualified applicants with a criminal history a second chance while maintaining the safety of our guests, team members and protecting our property,” Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder wrote in an emailed statement.
The announcement from the country’s second-largest retailer comes just months after Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed “Ban the Box” legislation, which will next year make it illegal for the state’s employers to ask about a job applicant’s criminal history until he or she has been selected for an interview.
Effective November 1, 2013, Seattle, Washington will join various other jurisdictions (most recently Minnesota, Indiana, North Carolina and Buffalo, New York) that limit inquiries into and the use of criminal records for employment purposes.1 On June 10, 2013, the Seattle City Council adopted Seattle Ordinance 124201 (the “Ordinance”), which Mayor Mike McGinn signed on June 20, 2013.2 The Ordinance provides for administrative enforcement but affords no private right of action. Nonetheless, employers with operations or employees in Seattle should review the prohibitions in the Ordinance and should also continue to monitor related developments across the U.S.
Using criminal record information for employment purposes is currently a hot-button issue. In addition to the passage of ordinances such as this, earlier this week the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed two new disparate impact discrimination lawsuits asserting that the employers used criminal records for employment purposes in a manner that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.3 There has also been a considerable spike in class action lawsuits filed against employers for using background checks in violation of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).4
by The Republic
WASHINGTON — Public schools would be barred from employing teachers and other workers convicted of sexual offenses against children or other violent crimes under a bill the House approved Tuesday.
The measure would require school systems to check state and federal criminal records for employees with unsupervised access to elementary and secondary school students, and for people seeking those jobs. Workers refusing to submit to the checks would not be allowed to have school positions.
A 2010 report by the Government Accountability Office, the auditing arm of Congress, cited one estimate that there are 620,000 convicted sex offenders in the U.S.
It also found that state laws on the employment of sex offenders in schools vary. Some require less stringent background checks than others, and they differ on how people with past convictions are treated, such as whether they are fired or lose their teaching license.
The bill has run into objections from major teachers’ unions like the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. In letters to lawmakers, their criticisms included concerns that the measure might jeopardize workers’ protections under union contracts.
Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP
Brian D. Hall
As we have previously noted, the EEOC in April 2012 issued enforcement guidance addressing the use of arrest and criminal records in employment decisions under Title VII. Since then, the EEOC has filed two separate lawsuits in South Carolina and Illinois alleging that employer criminal background check policies violated Title VII because they adversely impacted minorities and were not job related and consistent with business necessity. In response, the Attorneys General of nine states (West Virginia, Alabama, Kansas, Montana, Colorado, Georgia, Nebraska, South Carolina and Utah) wrote a letter to the EEOC urging the EEOC to dismiss the lawsuits and rescind its enforcement guidance. Late last month, the EEOC published its response to the Attorneys General, defending its position on criminal history screening processes and naturally declining the invitation to rescind its guidance.
The EEOC’s recent litigation track record in these cases, however, may prompt it to reconsider the stridence of its position on these criminal background cases. In a recent Maryland federal case, EEOC v. Freeman, a federal district court granted summary judgment to the employer in an EEOC lawsuit alleging that the employer’s background screening programs violated Title VII. In an unusually scathing opinion, the court stated that the EEOC’s statistical expert’s testimony was unreliable based on a substantial number of errors in selecting and analyzing the data regarding the employer’s job applicants. In reaching its conclusion, the court noted:
By Stephanie Slifer
(CBS) LOS ANGELES – Jurors found concert promoter AEG was not negligent in hiring Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor who administered an overdose of anesthesia to singer Michael Jackson.
The unanimous verdict, which is a defeat for Michael Jackson’s family, brings the case to a close after five months of testimony, three days of closing arguments, and several days of deliberations.
Jackson’s mother Katherine and his three children were suing AEG Live, a company responsible for promoting and producing Jackson’s comeback concerts in 2009, arguing that the company failed to investigate Dr. Murray, the doctor who treated the pop star, because it was concerned about its own fortunes. It was argued throughout the trial that AEG Live was responsible for Jackson’s overdose death in 2009.
By MIRIAM JORDAN and JULIE JARGON
The U.S. government has launched a fresh crackdown on employers suspected of hiring illegal immigrants by notifying about 1,000 businesses across the country in recent weeks they must submit documents for audits.
The so-called “silent raids” are the largest since July 2009 when just as many companies were notified, according to immigration attorneys, and weren’t publicly disclosed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that conducts such inspections.
When asked about the audits, ICE responded that the agency inspects company hiring records “when necessary…to ensure compliance with U.S. employment laws.” An ICE official added, “the names and locations of the businesses will not be released at this time due to the ongoing, law enforcement sensitive nature of the inspections.”
Chipotle is one of the highest-profile targets of immigration audits.
The new employment audits hit restaurants, food processing, high-tech manufacturing, agriculture and other industries that together employ tens of thousands of workers, according to attorneys representing some of the companies.