Mid-sized New York Town Adds Background Checks for All City Employees

By Michael Klazema on 2/7/2014

Greenburgh, New York might be a little bit late to the background check scene than many similarly-sized cities and towns throughout the United States, but it’s better to be late than to never arrive at all. The town – which has a population of approximately 90,000 people, according to the 2010 census – recently made the decision to require all of its new city employees over the age of 18 to undergo background checks, full and part-time workers alike. Background checks will also be required for seasonal employees.

It does not currently appear as if the town of Greenburgh intends to require background checks of its existing employees as well, though a policy to that measure could certainly transpire in the future if the city government is pleased with their chosen vendor of background screenings. Part-time and seasonal employees, on the other hand, will be required to submit to background checks on an annual basis. Full-time employees will evidently only have to pass a background check once. The check will be performed during the application and interview process and prior to an offer of employment.

In the past, Greenburgh has been fairly conservative with its background check policy, only running screenings on high-ranking city officials. With institutions around the nation ramping up their background check policies – from daycare centers to schools – the town of Greenburgh believed it was time to make things a bit more secure in city government. That decision led to the new criminal background check policy, which was approved by the Greenburgh Town Board and published on the town’s website at the end of January.

Greenburgh’s new background checks system will include a variety of steps to create a comprehensive background check. One area of focus is an “address history derived from a social security number trace” check, used to identify where the applicant lives currently and where he or she has lived in recent years, and a “smart criminal check,” which utilizes this information to determine key county and state jurisdictions where direct court searches will check for criminal records
for the applicant in question.

However, while Greenburgh’s policy focuses on areas of residency for criminal activity checks, the town’s new policy displays an understanding that the best safeguards come from complementing such searches with database searches to uncover records for jurisdictions where the subject did not live, but might have worked or travelled. With that in mind, the Greenburgh criminal background check policy includes allowances for nationwide criminal and sex offender checks. The systems the town will use for nationwide checks are similar to US OneSEARCH and US Registered Offender OneSEARCH,’s instant criminal and sex offender check systems. Both systems run nationwide screenings, perusing hundreds of millions of criminal records and looking through numerous sex offender registries to root out any unsavory employees.


Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • March 20 Employers who use E-Verify must follow the proper steps and procedures when they receive a “tentative non-confirmation notice” from either the Social Security Administration or Department of Homeland Security. Failure to follow the proper procedures can cost employers both time and money. 
  • March 20

    Four Department of Commerce employees are out after their background checks resulted in security clearance denials. All four had worked high-ranking positions for months despite incomplete background checks.

  • March 15 As more states legalize the recreational use of cannabis, they contend with the emergence of new industries surrounding marijuana cultivation and production. 
  • March 14 In most cases, it is easy to determine where an issue might show up on a pre-employment background check. Citations for traffic violations or reckless driving charges will appear on a motor vehicle record check. Verdicts in a civil court case will show on a civil court background check. And criminal convictions—from petty theft to violent felonies—show up on criminal background checks.
  • March 13 How many years back do employment background checks go? This question can have multiple different answers depending on the situation.
  • March 13 A new bill in Florida would require landlords of apartment complexes to present tenants with verifications of employee background checks to give them peace of mind the people working in and around their homes are trustworthy.
  • March 08 Police officers working with the University of Texas at Arlington recently arrested a man who had avoided police capture on a warrant out of Oregon for nearly two decades. The man, whose real name is Daniel Charles Ray Hanson, spent those 17 years using a variety of fake names and identification documents to move around the country, often engaging with educational institutions under false pretenses. Police say Hanson regularly went by at least three different aliases. He sports a rap sheet that stretches back to an arson conviction in 1995. 
  • March 07

    The Future of EEOC Guidance in Texas Is Up in the Air

    The EEOC issued guidance in 2012 warning employers about the dangers of enforcing categorical policies to bar candidates with criminal histories. That guidance is not enforceable in Texas thanks to a recent court ruling.

  • March 05 Vermont is the latest state to restrict employers’ access to and use of social media accounts of employees and applicants. 
  • March 01 In an age of "industry disruptors" turning established business models on their heads, companies such as Uber and Lyft rely on a unique workforce of individuals outside the traditional employer-employee context. Uber calls them "partners" while other businesses refer to them as "independent contractors," the official classification these individuals use for tax purposes. Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) revealed they had warned a business, Postmates, for misclassifying their staff as independent contractors. In the NLRB's determination, these individuals were employees.