Legislative Alert: FTC Settles False Safe Harbor Claims

Legislative Alert: FTC Settles False Safe Harbor Claims

By Jennifer Gladstone


Screening News Network Update – May 7, 2015

Learn more about this and other screening news topics in this week’s EBI Screening News Update.


Will Obama Ban The Box?

Criminal justice reform advocates are urging President Obama to issue an executive order to ‘Ban the Box’ for most government and federal contractor jobs.

Fourteen states and dozens of cities and municipalities have already passed laws to prevent an employer from looking into an applicant’s criminal history until later in the hiring process. According to the National Employment Law Project, background checks are counter to the justice system’s goal of rehabilitation.

Even those asking for the executive order agree there will always be some positions that require more rigorous background screening. There is no word on the president’s response.

Virginia Governor Signs Executive Order

Just a few miles down the road from our nation’s capital, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has already signed an executive order to ban the box on all state job applications. The order was signed and put into effect on April 3rd.

In addition to taking the question of criminal history off of job applications, the executive order also makes it clear that convictions should only come into play during the hiring process if the applicant’s past crime bears some specific relation to the job they are seeking.

False Safe Harbor Claims

The Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement agreement with two American companies over their Safe Harbor status. TES Franchising and American International Mailing, Inc. both claimed on their websites that they were certified under the U.S.- EU Safe Harbor Framework which allows companies to transfer consumer data from the European Union to the United States in compliance with EU law.

A company must self-certify to the Department of Commerce every year that they comply with the seven data privacy principles required by the EU. Both companies let their certification lapse several years ago, but were still telling customers they were protected.

The settlement prohibits the companies from misrepresenting their participation in the program. Any future violations could cost the companies thousands in civil penalties.




Employment Background Investigations is a technology driven leader in domestic and global pre-employment background checks, drug testing, occupational health screening and I-9 compliance. We specialize in development, implementation and management of customized employment screening programs for large and multi-national clients. We are dedicated to information security.  EBI is the only NAPBS Accredited background screening company in the world to hold both an ISO 27001:2005 certification for information security and an ISO 9001:2008 certification for Quality Management.

All content provided by EBI is published for the convenience of its readers and should never be deemed as legal guidance or advice.  Always consult your legal counsel for specific advice on state laws and industry regulations.


Ban the Box

About the Author

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.

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