How to Handle Harassment in the New Workplace

Hostile Work Environment


In the era of #MeToo, the subject of workplace harassment is a complicated one. It’s no longer enough to have an open door policy or a 1-800 number to anonymously report concerns. Companies must take deliberate measures in order to educate, train, and anticipate how workplace harassment might happen, how to conduct the employee investigation, and the different ways in which incidents might occur and how they should be handled.

Workplace harassment isn’t just sexual harassment. In fact, in the era of technology social media and electronic communication, workplace harassment isn’t limited to office behavior like bullying, snide comments, or cold stares. Behavior that creates a hostile work environment can impact employees that work remotely if the harassment takes the form of online trolling or abuse. In this post, we’ll define workplace harassment and explore how to handle violations in order to protect your employees as well as your company.

jim owens cisive
James Owens, President and CEO

Defining Workplace Harassment
In the United States, Canada and in some European Union Member States, employers are responsible for providing their employees with a work environment that does not discriminate and is free of harassment. According to the United States Department of Labor, there are two basic types of unlawful harassment.

(1) Quid Pro Quo Harassment (“This for That”)
Quid pro quo harassment generally results in a tangible employment decision based upon the employee’s acceptance or rejection of unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, but it can also result from unwelcome conduct that is of a religious nature. This kind of harassment is generally committed by someone who can effectively make or recommend formal employment decisions (such as termination, demotion, or denial of promotion) that will affect the victim.


  • supervisor who fires or denies promotion to a subordinate for refusing to be sexually cooperative;
  • supervisor requires a subordinate to participate in religious activities as a condition of employment;
  • supervisor offers preferential treatment/promotion if subordinate sexually cooperates or joins supervisor’s religion.

(2) Hostile Work Environment Harassment
A hostile environment can result from the unwelcome conduct of supervisors, co-workers, customers, contractors, or anyone else with whom the victim interacts on the job, and the unwelcome conduct renders the workplace atmosphere intimidating, hostile, or offensive.

Examples of behaviors that may contribute to an unlawful hostile environment include:

  • discussing sexual activities;
  • telling off-color jokes concerning race, sex, disability, or other protected bases;
  • unnecessary touching;
  • commenting on physical attributes;
  • displaying sexually suggestive or racially insensitive pictures;
  • using demeaning or inappropriate terms or epithets;
  • using indecent gestures;
  • using crude language;
  • sabotaging the victim’s work;
  • engaging in hostile physical conduct.

When Harassing Conduct Violates the Law

First, unlawful harassing conduct must be unwelcome and based on the victim’s protected status. Second, the conduct must be: subjectively abusive to the person affected; and objectively severe and pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would find hostile or abusive.

Whether an instance or a pattern of harassing conduct is severe or pervasive is determined on a case-by-case basis, with consideration paid to the following factors: the frequency of the unwelcome discriminatory conduct; the severity of the conduct; whether the conduct was physically threatening or humiliating, or a mere offensive utterance; whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with work performance; the effect on the employee’s psychological well-being; and whether the harasser was a superior within the organization.

Hostile work environment cases are often difficult to recognize, because the particular facts of each situation determine whether offensive conduct has crossed the line from “ordinary tribulations of the workplace, such as the sporadic use of abusive language… and occasional teasing” to unlawful harassment.

What You Can Do to Limit Harassing Conduct

The most effective way to limit harassing conduct is to treat it as misconduct, even if it does not rise to the level of harassment actionable under the law. The goal of any workplace policy is to eliminate harassment before it becomes severe and pervasive enough to violate the law. A well constructed and well-implemented plan within an organization may stop inappropriate conduct before it creates a problem for individual employees or the company. Below is a list of steps you can take right now to ensure your company is compliant with harassment laws, as well as making it easy for employees to report incidents without fear of retribution.

1) Make sure your policy is up to date and that all employees have reviewed it, acknowledged it (via document signature), and are aware of any updates or changes to the policy as soon as they occur. Update and reissue the policy statement every year, and provide training every year. Obtain a signed acknowledgment form from every attendee indicating she understands the company policy against harassment and retain signed acknowledgments in employment files stored in the human resources department.

2) Provide ongoing training for managers and employees. An effective presentation is made up of three pieces: a review of the basics, real world harassment scenarios and a chance for participants to interact and share their ideas. Even if you feel like your participants have of a good grasp on harassment basics, it’s important to build your presentation around familiar terms and concepts. Never forget to cover things like the definitions of quid pro quo, hostile work environment, retaliation and other well-known harassment terminology. For most supervisory employees this will be review. The key is to give them a chance to apply their knowledge.

See more at How to Design an Engaging Workplace Harassment Training.

3) Establish a variety of reporting channels, such as an anonymous 1-800 number, a form on your employee portal, or a generic email address like that makes it easy and provides employees an opportunity to feel more comfortable to talk to HR about the harassment that is happening, whether it’s to them or someone they know in the workplace.

4) All complaints should be investigated thoroughly, providing a standardized process for the person filing the complaint to follow up, even if the complaint is made anonymously. Management must take prompt, remedial action to investigate and eliminate any harassing conduct. Note that several litigated harassment claims include allegations that an employer sat on a complaint without fully investigating it. All information should be maintained on a confidential basis to the greatest extent possible.

5) Investigation records should be kept and quarterly reviews should take place to determine if a pattern of behavior or harassment exists. From SHRM: “If an investigation results in a finding that this policy has been violated, the mandatory minimum discipline is a written reprimand. The discipline for very serious or repeat violations is termination of employment. Persons who violate this policy may also be subject to civil damages or criminal penalties.”

6) Don’t forget harassment outside of work. In the age of digital and social media, harassment can happen on social media platforms. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recommends that workplace anti-harassment policies incorporate dealing with social media. Even if employees post harassing or derogatory information about coworkers away from the workplace, for example, an employer may be liable for a hostile work environment if it was aware of the postings, or if the harassing employee was using employer-owned devices or accounts. As a result, the EEOC found that “harassment should be in employers’ minds as they draft social media policies and, conversely, social media issues should be in employers’ minds as they draft anti-harassment policies.”

7) Use your background screening process to help spot possible offenders during the hiring process. While criminal history searches will identify known criminal offenses, there are also other ways to help uncover potential risk. Consider adding employment verifications, reference checks, professional credential checks and social media searches to your current background screening program.

Employment Verifications can help uncover whether the candidate has ever been released for harassment in the past. Reference checks provide you with subjective information about an applicant. If there have been problems with harassment in the past, it will likely continue. Should the candidate’s position require a license(s), then a check of the license(s) may identify previously identified violations and/or sanctions

In addition, Social Media searches can also help companies who are concerned with harassment and mitigating risk. A combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and human-based quality assurance automatically highlights red flags in your candidate’s social media activity which may reference aggressive or violent acts, bigotry, unlawful activity, illegal drugs, discriminatory or sexually explicit activity, or any “custom risk” you feel may have a negative impact.

Note that this post is intended to provide resources and information; it should not be construed as a legal document, nor has it been reviewed by legal counsel. Employers should review federal and state anti-harassment provisions before implementing any new anti-harassment policy.

The Impact of the Extended Senior Managers Regime on Screening Requirements

Senior Manager's RegimeThe Senior Managers Regime (SMR) is part of the UK financial regulation introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and is aimed at increasing personal accountability of senior level people in the financial services industry. The SMR was initially implemented in the banking sector after the 2008 financial crisis, considered the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The SMR’s purpose is to reduce consumer risk and strengthen market integrity by holding financial services managers in senior positions accountable for their conduct and competence. The SMR covers both domestic and international firms with UK operations.

The FCA’s expanded scope of SMR requirements will go into effect May 2018, and extends beyond the banking industry to include insurers and solo-regulated firms. Some facets of the current banking regime will also be affected. This will significantly increase the number of firms required to comply and bring an end to the current Approved Persons Regime (APA).

Individuals working in a ‘Senior Management Function’, as defined by the FCA, must be approved by the FCA before taking on the responsibilities of the role. In addition, firms will need to ensure the suitability of the Senior Manager by completing a ‘fit and proper’ assessment.

As a result, firms need to certify at least annually that senior managers are suitable to perform their job functions. It is proposed that firms should perform criminal record checks for each Senior Manager and obtain a ‘regulatory reference’ from the Senior Manager’s previous firm.

At Cisive, we are experts in the specific risks and regulations that apply to regulated industries. For many years, we have provided tailored solutions to meet the unique requirements of our financial services clients.

In 2017 we opened an international operations centre in London, England to manage our global screening business. We recognize the specific challenges that our clients with a UK presence face, from managing Brexit contingency planning, to implementing General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant procedures, dealing with MiFID 2, in addition to preparing for SMR changes.

At Cisive we are prepared for the extended SMR and GDPR regulations and will contractually support you as a data controller in the background screening process. As a data controller, we will stand alongside our clients and assume responsibility for implementing and managing employee screening procedures in compliance with GDPR.

Cisive has rolled out a suite of SMR specific screening solutions to help ensure efficient and effective application of the new regulations. Our Senior Manager Regime solution includes:

  • Digital, touch-free inbound and outbound Disclosure and Barring Service checks for basic and standard disclosures
  • Continuous criminal monitoring service
  • FCA ‘fitness and propriety’ package
  • Regulatory reference regime compliant service
  • Education and employment checks performed by our UK-based team
  • Full GDPR compliance and indemnification

If you are a financial services institution providing financial services in the UK, any and all employees considered senior decision makers fall under the scope of the new regulation.

With more than 40 years of experience, Cisive offers the most efficient and effective solution for the financial services industry.

For more details or to further discuss how Cisive can help your organization meet the extended requirements of the GDPR and Senior Manager Regime, please contact us at +1 866-557-5984 or email



Rob Jones
VP and General Manager
Global Executive Intelligence Division

Settling for the Status Quo: How to Challenge Yourself in HR, Part 2

cisive hr

In Part 1 of this post, we discussed going beyond metrics and ROI of HR and the need for change agents in human resource leadership. Now we’ll get to specific ways to overcome the status quo and the neuroscience of change.

Be a Rebel

In a Harvard Business Review article, Lois Kelly and Carmen Medina, the authors of Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within, offer suggestions for how employees can more effectively advance their good ideas, even in organizations resistant to constructive nonconformists.

Say the authors, “In a recent research study among self-identified rebels at work, we found that among their strengths were — not surprisingly — honesty, creativity, curiosity, and fairness. But self-regulation, perseverance, and prudence were among their weaker points. Setting small goals and appreciating the small wins along the way will help you strengthen those weaker traits and help prevent you from giving up too soon because you’re frustrated that things aren’t happening the way you want them to and you decide not to persevere.”

Some of the pitfalls include failing to prioritize your ideas, which can lead to creative pitch burnout from company decision makers; trying to go it alone, as many successful endeavors require a team approach; and ignoring your personal red flags for creative burnout. Creativity is a renewable source of energy for rebels, but pessimism can be an unintended side effect of swinging and missing a pitch.

Think Like a Marketer

HR pros play a lot of roles: employee liaison, culture keeper, people leader, coach. But the best ones are also marketers. They boost employer brand and improve the overall experience for employees. And when HR adopts marketing techniques, they can better manage talent.

An article in Entrepreneur outlines four marketing principles HR professionals can use to help achieve company buy-in for new ideas, including:

(1) know your target audience. Employees receive hundreds of emails every week — yet 50 percent of those surveyed in theEMPLOYEEapp’s Mobile Trends in the Workplace survey said they still feel out of the loop. Why? Because the messages aren’t tapping into their interests. Learn everything you can about your audience and use the knowledge to target messages to specific groups of employees rather than a company-wide email blast.

(2) One brand voice, every channel. Marketers know that if they want to get the attention of their audience, they need to use more than one method. A campaign cannot be successful through emails and newsletters alone. Marketers use a mix of media to convey their messages. They use video, images, interactive websites, social media and more.

(3) Create an information hub. When HR focuses on a branded employee experience, encouraging program participation becomes easier. Bring all programs, initiatives and information together in one easy-to-use platform. Think of it as a hub that integrates the most important HR benefits, programs and initiatives in one convenient place.

(4) Measure effectiveness. Decide what metrics are most important to the company culture and overall business goals and track them to drive employee engagement. Are employees responding to messages? Are they participating? Are they happy? What can be done better? Some HR systems learn about people and take action so employers don’t even have to.

jim owens cisive
James Owens, president and CEO of Cisive, is the author of this article.

The Neuroscience of Change

Dr. Britt Andreatta is the CEO of 7th Mind Inc, a TEDx Speaker and a best-selling author whose work focuses on workplace neuroscience, specifically in the areas of leadership, learning, change and culture. Her newest book, Wired to Resist: The Brain Science of Why Change Fails and a New Model to Drive Success, was just released.This podcast interview on neuroscience covers some good points on how as leaders we should introduce or manage the science of change acceptance or adoption at work. This is critical to going beyond the status quo and standard workplace politics and working to really moving the needle in an organization.

Dr. Andreatta says that it is important for organizations and leaders to understand where each employee is on the change journey. Leaders who are involved in creating and building new organizational strategies have had time to adjust to the new change while employees often have not been given the time to consider, learn about and adjust to those same changes. This is one of the many situations where workplace neuroscience and leadership can help.

According to Dr. Andreatta’s research, there are three categories of people who take part in the workplace change journey. They are 1) expedition designers, 2) guides who are most often managers, and 3) travelers. She says that people throughout the organization will fall into these different categories depending on the change processes taking place and what part of the organization they work in.

In order for organizations to succeed and their employees to embrace change, organizational leaders must focus on their employees and help create new neural pathways for their employees in everything they do, from launching a new training program, workplace process, or employment video.

Finally, driving change and moving from the usual needs to have the support of organizational leaders and a culture of trust. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how much you’ve researched and planned a new program if it doesn’t have the support and trust of the executive leadership team.

Settling for the Status Quo: How to Challenge Yourself in HR, Part 1


Following what has always been done is comfortable, like a warm blanket. It’s safe — but failing to change or evolve in this fast-moving economy and talent market could be to an organization’s detriment. It’s important for HR leaders and team members to consider themselves trend hunters and thought leaders operating with a mindset where creativity and new ideas are welcomed. This doesn’t mean being cavalier. Rather, it means being open to new ideas and seeking them out, taking the time to vet and discuss them, as well as implementing programs strategically that can drive department or organizational change.

The ROI of HR

The resistance to change in human resources in part comes from the fact that the department is seen as a cost or expenditure versus a revenue-generating center. As HR grew in complexity and became more involved in business forecasting, establishing business ROI and executing progress that could be directly tied to future and current business success, so evolved the role of the HR professional into something more than it ever intended to be. We are strategic business partners forcibly involved in the success of organizations evaluating not just hiring, firing and traditional hiring advisory roles but so much more. This is where the HR ROI Scale developed by Paul Kearns comes into play.

cisive hr

As our roles become more complex and more strategic with the organization, the metrics of HR become less important, because the real value we provide is in the larger organization as a whole. Challenging yourself as an HR leader means adopting new methods and processes, thereby demonstrating a value for your organization that goes beyond ROI.

“Perpetual Beta”

Consider HR technology. Jason Averbook, co-founder and CEO of LeapGen, says that human resources must look beyond their department silos and focus on workforce technology that is focused on business processes, tools, and resources for the end user which in this case isn’t HR but managers and their teams (Workology podcast #118: Finding the ROI In Your Workplace & HR Technology #hrtech). The key when implementing successful tech, Jason says, is to always be in perpetual beta, meaning that there is always change, improvements, and enhancements, just like you see in consumer technology. This move towards “perpetual beta” has happened because of new cloud-based workforce technologies making it easier to update, enhance and change the experience and structure for enterprise technology users.

Perpetual beta doesn’t just apply to technology. If you’re always working with a new test model in HR, it seems less risky because you’re labeling it as such. It’s an easier sell to management, and the “test and scale” methodology that is so popular in tech startups gives you room to fail — which can help get you out of the same/same mindset and into a change adoption state.

In HR, like in marketing, it is difficult to put a number on the value of new programs or processes. What you can measure, however, is workplace adoption rates, employee engagement increase or decrease, and scalability. Because change is constant in the workforce, it’s natural for HR to be a change leader and early adopter. One great example is the wave of companies adopting unlimited PTO. While we don’t know what company was first to execute, we can imagine how the conversation went between HR and company executives. Companies needed a way to stand out to candidates and differentiate their perks. It was likely a HR leader who said “let’s take our two weeks of sick and vacation time and make it unlimited PTO.” Cue the company CEO and executives chorus of “no’s.” And then one company did it, with the bonus side effect of earned media coverage. Once that domino fell, other companies rushed to do the same and became part of a corporate experiment that resulted in happier employees. SHRM data suggests only about 1% of employers offer open PTO, so it’s definitely a big step, but it’s an excellent example of challenging the status quo.

James C. Owens
President and CEO


GDPR Compliance in the Background Screening Process

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will become enforceable on May 25, 2018.  Will your pre and post-employment background screening processes be GDPR compliant?

Join Cisive for a live webinar, “GDPR Compliance in the Background Screening Process” on Thursday, March 15 @ 1:00 pm EST.

Rob Jones, General Manager, Global Operations in London, will discuss the different areas of recruiting and hiring that GDPR impacts including background screening, candidate experience and sourcing.  He will also touch on compliance requirements for the extended Senior Manager’s Regime (SMR).

Both of these regulations will place additional burdens on employers and significantly increase the importance of compliance.

Don’t miss the exclusive event on GDPR compliance! Cisive can help you efficiently and effectively apply the new regulations.

Register today!

Robert Jones, VP and General Manager, Global Operations
Rob Jones joined Cisive in 2017 and leads their global operations and executive intelligence division from their London office. Prior to joining Cisive, Rob held a leadership position with a specialist global risk management consultancy. In this role, he developed and implemented risk assessment, due diligence, and compliance programs for Fortune 100 corporations operating internationally.

Rob Jones
VP and General Manager
Global Executive Intelligence Division

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Compliance in Your Background Screening Process

GDPR ComplianceWhen it goes into effect on May 25, 2018, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will enforce a set of laws designed to protect European citizens’ personal data. It will affect all companies that deal with personal data — and even non-EU-based companies will still have to comply. GDPR will impact not just companies who are hiring in the EU but also those that are employing citizens of the EU who live in different areas of the world.

What is GDPR Really About?

So what exactly is GDPR about? It was designed as a replacement for the current Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC with the purpose of reconciling country-specific and sometimes conflicting European data privacy laws. Most importantly, it aims at changing the way organizations operating in the EU, or those collecting personal data from the EU’s citizens, approach data privacy. It also provides a harmonization of the data protection regulations throughout the EU, thereby (in theory) making it easier for American companies to comply.

Under GDPR it will be unlawful to use an EU citizen’s data without his or her explicit consent. This citizen data includes consumer information and more importantly, for talent acquisition leaders, candidate information. GDPR fundamentally changes the way recruiting teams can engage candidates who are citizens of EU countries in the areas of resume and application storage, candidate data collection, employment branding activities, and candidate sourcing strategies.

How GDPR Will Impact the Hiring Process

Recruiters will no longer be able to send emails to users who have not opted into their mailing list. Additionally, recruiters and HR staff must be aware of who is currently in their database. This means you may wish to consider grouping candidates in the EU into a different category than candidates elsewhere (who are not impacted by GDPR). You must obtain affirmative consent before collecting or sharing candidate data.

From the application process to background screening, companies recruiting or employing EU citizens must adhere to strict new regulations. Under GDPR, you are required to ask for explicit consent, clarify how you will use individual candidate’s data, and make sure that the data remains secure. This involves more than simply adding a clarification and a checkbox to data collection forms. Your vendors – such as your ATS, payroll, and recruiting software, must be GDPR compliant.

How to Ensure Vendor Compliance 

The impact of GDPR is broad, but it focuses on data collection. You’re likely using an ATS or other recruiting software, along with vendors that run background checks or candidate screens. It’s imperative that your vendors are aware of the GDPR constraints and fully compliant. Here are seven questions to ask your vendors:

(1) Do you have a clear privacy policy?

Even if you currently have one in place, companies will need to write a clear privacy policy that consumers will actually be able to read and understand. In that policy, companies must clearly indicate what personal information is being requested or collected. Candidates or applicants have to be given a choice of whether or not to provide their data and any data that is collected needs to be clearly marked for the specific purpose for which it was collected. NOTE: Any data that is collected for a stated purpose can only be used for that purpose and for which consent was obtained. This means that data collected for a job application can be used for background checks only if the applicant gives explicit consent.

(2) Do you have GDPR compliance for applications around the world or will you have separate policies for each country?

Your ATS and any other software you’re using to hold data will need to be GDPR compliant. If your ATS and other vendors are on their game, they’re already working on compliance or have compliance for GDPR in place.

(3) Opt-out or opt-in?

Most U.S. companies currently use an opt-out policy when collecting and sharing consumer data. The opt-out model requires consumers to specifically ask data collectors and aggregators not to share their data with third parties. Otherwise, consent is assumed by default. The GDPR will require organizations to do just the opposite. You must obtain affirmative consent before collecting or sharing candidate data. Make sure your vendor is prepared for this change.

(4) How will you handle “Right to Erasure” 

Under the GDPR, candidates must be able to access and review their data anytime they like, ask for updates of their data, and even allow for full deletion upon request. Candidates will have the “right to be forgotten or right to erasure,” meaning that candidates can request for their data to be erased when it is no longer necessary for the original purpose.

This impacts your ATS and the hiring process because applicants can apply for a position, get rejected, then request their right to erasure. A few months later, the same job seeker could apply again, but you won’t know it because your ATS won’t show it. No data, no notes from previous interviews, no data on the job seeker at all. And not only will you have to remove data by request from your ATS, it also must be removed from the sourcing tools your ATS uses. The same goes for any data collected for the purpose of a background screen.

(5) What is your Breach Notification policy?

GDPR requires companies to inform consumers about data breaches impacting their personal information. While that requirement is not particularly new for American companies—most states mandate it currently—the breach reporting requirements under GDPR are strenuous. Notification must be made within 72 hours from the time the breach is discovered.

(6) Are you prepared for GDPR Reporting Requirements?

Under Section 3, Article 35 of the GDPR, a Data Protection Impact Assessment (“DPIA”, which is also commonly known as a Privacy Impact Assessment or “PIA”) is required for any processing that may result in “high risk.”  The supervisory authority shall establish and make public a list of the types of processing operations that require a DPIA. While official public lists from the Data Protection Authorities (“DPAs”) are forthcoming, your company and its vendors should begin identifying areas of high risk, such as data processing, email triggers, data collection, and portability of data (when erasure is requested).

(7) What is your company’s liability for failure to comply?

GDPR fundamentally changes the way recruiting teams engage candidates who are citizens of EU countries in the areas of resume and application storage, candidate data collection for background checks, employment branding, and candidate sourcing. Compliance is mandatory for all organizations that are processing the personal data of EU residents across the globe. Failing to comply could result in severe penalties of up to 4 percent of worldwide revenue of the prior financial year or €20 million euros, whichever is greater. If your vendor software isn’t compliant, who is responsible for penalties?

Compliance is as important to your vendors business as it is to yours. If you’re not sure, use the list above as a starting point for ensuring your vendors are compliant so that you’re not scrambling to do so in May.

When it comes to pre-employment and post-employment background screening, Cisive is prepared for the GDPR.  To learn more about Cisive’s commitment to GDPR compliance, contact us at 1-866-557-5984 or email

Rob Jones
VP and General Manager
Global Executive Intelligence Division

Artificial Intelligence Will Take Bias, Risk Out Of Pre-Employment Background Screening

cisiveArtificial intelligence (AI) is changing business as we know it and major shifts are underway as adoption advances in the workplace.  In one example, IBM expects that AI will bring massive shifts in behavior monitoring over the next five years. According to a recent article, IBM plans to pair machine learning with statements made by individuals to predict their future mental health and behaviors. Industry experts say 2018 will hold more advances for AI and coming to terms with such technology now will make for life-improving programs later.  A recent Accenture survey reported that 74% of business leaders are accelerating investment in AI and such investment will boost revenues, profits, and employment.

Some companies that specialize in background screening services are investing in AI as well. Background screening providers are in the unique position of being entrusted with highly personal information and having the skills and technology to break down data so that employers can understand it and make informed decisions.  One of the things that makes AI special when it comes to employment background screening is that it can reduce recruiter bias. For those who might not be believers of such a concept, look no further than the economic recession of 2008 and so-called “over-qualified” candidates seeking jobs to make ends meet. HR professionals told candidates that they simply weren’t the right fit for the position despite the fact that they could have easily performed the job functions. According to a 2017 Time magazine article, one out of every four college graduates was over-qualified for the job they currently hold.

Scanning resumes with AI can focus on skills rather than age, race, gender and other demographics. According to tech website Venture Beat, businesses that deployed AI for the purpose of using “people data to predict business performance” jumped by nearly 30 percent between 2015 and 2016. Specifically, companies like IBM are using machine learning to fill the most complex job openings first and score prospective employees based on submitted credentials. Cisive is also leading the way with its recently-launched IDVerity identity authentication solution. IDVerity leverages AI, including ID verification and biometric facial recognition to verify the real-world identity of a candidate. Customers who implement Cisive’s solution realize benefits that include faster onboarding, deterring fraudulent applicants, and improving the accuracy of background screening results.

Artificial Intelligence has already begun to revolutionize the hiring process and we anticipate more innovation will help resolve problems and improve HR and recruiting efficiency.

Cisive Unveils IDVerityTM — Ground Breaking Identity Authentication Technology for the Human Resources Industry

Cisve is excited to announce the launch of IDVerityTM, a real-time identity authentication solution for the Human Resources industry.   IDVerityTM is the first line of defense in the background screening process and should be a foundational tool that employers use to manage the ever increasing risk of fraud and impersonation.

Data breach activity skyrocketed in 2017, exposing sensitive personal information including SSN, driver’s license, and medical and/or financial records for millions of consumers.  This combined with advancements in graphics technology, has made it easier for a deceptive candidate to falsify a government-issued ID and assume another person’s identity.  Coupled with the growing insider threat to businesses and compliance requirements in regulated industries, employers must add “Know Your Candidate” programs to their existing “Know Your Client” (KYC) program to protect their company, employees and customers.

IDVerityTM is state-of-the-art technology that forensically authenticates a candidate’s identity by validating the authenticity of their government issued ID and then comparing it to the candidates self-photograph taken from their mobile device. The solution combines artificial intelligence (AI) technology including ID verification that authenticates the ID and identity verification using biometric facial recognition, liveliness detection and live verification experts  to provide a complete solution to verify the real-world identity of a candidate. The balance of AI and human review is a critical component to keeping employers globally compliant.

This is the same technology used by law enforcement, border controls, and the TSA today, and follows the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards for Identity verification.

“Employers need to guard against insider threats, especially those perpetrated by persons using a fraudulent identity,” says James Owens, Cisive’s CEO and president. “The IDVerity solution will allow our clients to verify a candidate’s identity and reduce their risk exposure in a dramatic new way.  We are excited to introduce this ground breaking technology that will undoubtedly transform the candidate onboarding process.”

The Benefits of IDVerityTM

  • Accelerates candidate onboarding
  • Mitigates the risk of fraud and impersonation
  • Simple to use mobile app delivers a fast and secure candidate experience
  • Deters applications by fraudulent candidates
  • Easily incorporated into your existing onboarding processes
  • Meets due diligence and Know Your Candidate/Client (KYC)/Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements
  • Largest worldwide support of government issued IDs – Supports 300 different ID documents available in more than 3,000 different formats issued by over 200 ISO listed countries and territories

Know who you are hiring.  For more information on IDVerity or to receive a demo, call 1-866-557-5984 or visit

For more information on the importance of identity authenticatoin in the hiring process, read Cisive’s informative white paper The Case for Identity Verification in the Hiring Process.


WEBINAR SERIES: Workplace Drug & Alcohol Testing Compliance

Thursday, January 25th @ 1:00 PM EST

More than half of the states in the US have some form of authorized marijuana use. Be it personal use or medical use.

12 of those states limit what employers can and can’t do.

Join Cisive and Encompass Compliance for a deep dive into the state specific nuances of medical marijuana use and the rules that apply. In addition, you’ll learn about:

  • The impact of the ADA and state disabilities rules impacted by Marijuana laws
  • Increased litigation of employer discrimination with judgements and jury awards for employees in excess $7 million in 2017 including one case of $2M
  • Also a quick review of the new Federal DOT regulation that became effective 1/1/18

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from industry leaders about the state laws that apply to you and what you need to do to adjust your workplace policy and procedures.


Cisive is an NAPBS accredited and nationally recognized provider of compliance driven human capital management and risk management solutions. The company’s pre-employment background screening and integrated onboarding offering provides clients with the highest level of compliance, accuracy, quality, and configurability.

Encompass Compliance Corp. is an on-line research and risk management service that provides customers with state, federal and issue-specific drug and alcohol testing information, policies and procedures and training, which can be utilized for defeating Workers’ Compensation claims involving intoxication.


Identity Verification – The First Line of Defense in the Background Screening Process

Recruiting top talent is a critical component to the success of any company.  Human Resource professionals undergo lengthy measures to ensure they have the right candidate for the position.

How do you know if a candidate is who they say they are? 

Identity fraud is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. In the last 10 years, there have been over 7,500 data breaches of millions of records, exposing personal identifiable information (PII) such as SSN, driver’s license, medical or financial records.  The recent Equifax data breach, exposing over 143 million American consumers, exemplifies the magnitude of the problem.

Given the large number of data breaches exposing personal identifiable information (PII) for millions of consumers, combined with advancements in graphics technology, it has become easier for a deceptive candidate to assume another person’s identity and falsify a government-issued ID. Coupled with the growing insider threat to businesses and compliance requirements in regulated industries, employers must “Know Their Candidates” to protect their company and employees.

Accurate identification and identity data are keys to helping protect your company from the ever increasing risk of fraud and impersonation.

 Ripple effect of data breaches

In February of 2017, a hacker created a job seeker account in a popular job board and then exploited a misconfiguration in the application code to gain unauthorized access to certain PII of other job seekers (user names, dates of birth and Social Security Numbers). The hacker was able to breach the job board system in ten states.

The multiple effects of this type of data breach are broad and include:

  • Financial cost to the breached entity
  • Financial impact to the breached individuals
    • Direct or indirect theft
    • Damage to credit
    • Identity theft
  • Financial impact to:
    • Creditors
    • Merchants
    • Other consumers
    • AND employers

What’s a company to do?

Candidate authentication is the first line of defense in combating identity fraud and related criminal activity, and should be the foundation of an organization’s candidate background screening process.

Employers now have the availability of ground breaking identity authentication technology that forensically authenticates a candidate’s government issued ID and compares it to the candidate’s self-photograph using biometric facial recognition to authenticate their identity.

Implementing this technology as the first step before the background check will help to catch fake IDs and combat the increasing risk of fraud exposure and impersonation.

Identity Authentication technology combines machine learning ID verification and identity verification, along with biometric facial recognition, providing a complete solution to verify the identity of your candidates.

A successful and efficient Identify Authentication program relies heavily on the candidate experience.  A simple mobile enabled process for capturing the candidate ID and self photograph will help streamline identity verification and accelerate time to hire.

Worldwide support for government issued IDs

For global nationals and companies that hire employees with international government issued IDs, it’s critical that the technology you implement be able to support varying types of government issued IDs throughout the world. The time and cost savings benefits of onboarding candidates with secure identity authentication cannot be overstated. If a fraudster provides false information that is not uncovered in the background research, the background check results will be inaccurate. As background checks become more ubiquitous, there are people who know that when fraudulent personal data is not discovered and corrected it becomes difficult to positively match identifiers in criminal records. The front-end potential of an ID authentication process is a high impact event for companies.

The government issued IDs used in front-end ID authentication contain correct dates of birth which assist in the identification process. In addition, if there is a criminal record involved in the background check, the photo ID will help in determining if the criminal record is a match with the Department of Corrections photo.

To learn more about issues involved with identity fraud and cutting edge identity authentication technology available to protect your company, download Cisive’s new White Paper, The Case for Identity Verification in the Hiring Process.