- NAPBS Sues Arkansas District Court Clerk
- IRS Bad Habits Trigger New Bill Mandating Employment History Checks
- Bill to Allow Federal Employees to Smoke Pot Where Legal
NAPBS Sues Arkansas District Court Clerk
A county clerk in Arkansas took it upon herself to ban background screening companies from accessing records in Bentonville District Court. Now, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) has filed suit against her. According to a report in Arkansas Online, Jennifer Jones used her official position to “frustrate and threaten the background check process” by requiring researchers seeking court records to pay $5,000 and get a compiled records license. According to the lawsuit, the law requiring those steps only applies to those who are obtaining electronic data in bulk, not the researchers who come to the courthouse looking for a specific record on a job applicant. Once Bentonville effectively banned background screeners from the records, other Arkansas courts followed suit. This not only slows down the hiring process for employers trying to hire anyone from one of these counties, but it also puts employers at risk if they are unable to confirm an applicant’s criminal history. NAPBS tried to work with the Arkansas State Judiciary Committee on Automation and pointed out that these actions are a violation of the state’s Freedom of Information Act. Seven of the 10 counties have started allowing access again, but Bentonville and two others are still holding out. The lawsuit asks the court to declare that NAPBS members have the right to access these public records. It also seeks a monetary award to cover legal fees.
IRS Bad Habits Trigger New Bill Mandating Employment History Checks
A recent report from the Treasury Inspector General shows that the IRS has a bad habit of rehiring people they have previously fired for cause. Some of the re-hires were let go for things like getting unauthorized access to taxpayer accounts, theft convictions, lying about previous convictions on their job application, and falsifying official documents. The report says hundreds of people have been allowed back into the agency, some of them in as little as 6 months after their offense. According to Treasury officials, the IRS didn’t give hiring managers the employment history information about these applicants even though it was easily available. The IRS sent a response letter to Treasury basically saying they think their hiring process is “more than adequate.” This isn’t sitting well with lawmakers. Representative Krisi Noem (R-SD) has proposed a bill that would prevent the IRS from rehiring anyone who was fired for misconduct or poor performance.
Bill to Allow Federal Employees to Smoke Pot Where Legal
Two lawmakers want to make it safe for federal employees who live in states with legal marijuana to partake without risking their jobs. The Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act (H.R. 6589) would forbid federal agencies from denying or terminating employment based on a failed drug test. Certain jobs would be exempt, and impairment while on the job would still be a fireable offense. Representatives Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Drew Ferguson (R-GA) introduced the bill. Crist says he threw his support behind legislation to protect the large number of veterans in his district. He says a disproportionate number of veterans are employed by the government, but they also have higher usage of medical marijuana since many are struggling with battle wounds and PTSD. If the bill becomes law, it would be up to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to draft and implement the new rules.