Alliance to Aid Agencies via Online Personnel Services

Alliance to Aid Agencies via Online Personnel Services

By Nick Wakeman, Staff Writer

MAY 15 ? A division of the National Information Consortium Inc. of Overland Park, Kan., has formed an alliance with Employee Relations Inc. of Sherman Oaks, Calif., to provide online personnel services to government agencies.

NIC builds electronic government systems, and Employee Relations provides human resources services. The alliance will concentrate on reducing the cost and increasing the effectiveness of background checks.

"Government agencies can't afford lawsuits resulting from negligent hiring claims or discrimination," said Don Smeltzer, president of NIC Technologies, the division of NIC that formed the alliance. "Additionally, government has a mandate to demonstrate a zero tolerance policy toward discrimination, harassment, drugs and violence in the workplace."

Background checks and other forms of pre-employment screening have become critical to the government human resources process. A single episode of workplace violence can cost as much as $250,000, based on the research of the National Safe Workplace Institute.

In March, the government settled the largest sexual discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history, with a $508 million settlement to 1,100 women who claimed the U.S. Information Agency's subsidiary, Voice of America, consistently hired men with lower qualifications.

"This case should send a clear signal to all government agencies," said Stuart Barlow, president of Employee Relations. "Employers must do everything possible to avoid creating a hostile work environment. The public cost of discrimination is high."

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