Blog

 
     

New York Nuclear Power Plant Avoids Commission Citation for Background Check Mishap

By Michael Klazema on 12/6/2013

The three-unit Indian Point nuclear power plant based in Buchanan, New York narrowly avoided a run-in with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission over a discrepancy between an employee’s company file and their background check. According to a report published recently by the Hudson Valley Reporter, the Indian Point power plant requires workers to disclose their full law-related personal history. While the EEOC dictates that employers can only turn away applicants on the basis of actual criminal convictions, it appears that the Indian Point power plant has also been taking the arrest histories of its employees into account in making some company decisions.

It isn’t clear whether or not the power plant maintains a policy of rejecting employees on the basis of an arrest record. However, the Hudson Valley Reporter did make it seem as if the Indian Point power plant—and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as a whole—views arrests as part of an employee’s criminal history.

The background check discrepancy took place when three Indian Point employees were applying for clearance to enter the James A. Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Station. The Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Station is another New York power plant, located in the town of Scriba. Normally, Indian Point employees would have no reason to enter that particular plant, but after an outage took place at Fitzpatrick last year, it required additional support staff to rectify the problem. Indian Point received the distress call, and its employees sprang into action to help.

To gain clearance into the power plant, the Indian Point workers had to disclose the entirety of their criminal-related history, including arrests, on an authorization form. That information was then to be confirmed via background check in order to determine whether or not the Nuclear Regulatory Commission could authorize the Indian Point support staff as “trustworthy” and “reliable” enough to earn “unescorted access” to nuclear facilities.

This week, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission found that the authorization forms had been falsified by Indian Point’s security coordinator. As it turns out, the owner of the Indian Point power plant caught the falsification last year, finding that one of the support staff workers had been authorized for duty at the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Station despite the fact that his or her criminal history report did not quite match up with a corresponding FBI background check.

That particular employee had an arrest they had failed to report on the authorization papers, which came up on an FBI criminal history check. While it appears that the power plant does observe EEOC guidelines, and wouldn’t have rejected the employee or limited his or her work due to the one arrest instance, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission does dictate that the plant’s security coordinator hold follow-up meetings with any employees whose background checks show discrepancies with their paperwork. The follow-up meeting is meant to clear up any questions of reliability, after which the security coordinator can authorize the employee.

However, that follow-up meeting never took place in this case, meaning that the real offense is against the security coordinator. Since the owner of Indian Point plant realized their security coordinator’s offense last year—and fired him for falsifying authorization documents—the power plant won’t face any fines or citations from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. No reports indicate what happened to the employee with the arrest history, however, begging the question of how the EEOC might view the practices of the Indian Power Plant and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Sources: http://hudsonvalleyreporter.com/westchester/buchanan/2013/11/nrc-indian-point-worker-falsified-background-check-records/


Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • June 20 Repeat background checks are becoming more common, with companies in India leading the charge. What does this trend look like, and how can employers embrace it now to stay ahead of the curve?
  • June 19

    Every federal job involves a background check of some kind. These background checks and how they are evaluated vary based on job, department, and security clearance level.


  • June 18

  • June 14 Ban the box laws aim to improve opportunities for employment. Could they have the opposite effect instead?
  • June 13 Jacobs Petroleum Products is a regional petroleum company that operates throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland. Apart from their employees carrying much responsibility and have frequent contact with customers, the company’s hiring also tends to be segmented since individual store managers are responsible for hiring talent for their own stores. In this employment landscape, Jacobs Petroleum Products needed a reliable and effective way to screen its new hires for criminal infractions and other red flags.
  • June 12

    The University of Wisconsin System may tweak its hiring and reference check processes. The potential changes come after one of UW’s assistant deans was accused of sexual harassment.


  • June 07 Stories of abuse by coaches in youth sports leagues continue to crop up around the country, but rules and guidelines remain patchy and enforcement is often lacking. The struggle to implement an effective system continues nationwide.
  • June 07 Financial background checks, usually referred to as credit history checks, can be an effective way to find out if a candidate is fit to handle accounts, financial data, and other assets at your business.
  • June 06 The Society for Human Resource Management and the Charles Koch Institute recently commissioned a survey to find out how willing employers were to hire people with criminal records. The study indicates that managers, HR professionals, and employees themselves are becoming more comfortable with the idea of hiring and working with ex-offenders.
  • June 04 Are fingerprint background checks the gold standard for employee screening, or are they overhyped? We look at some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding these checks.