Wymoo background checking
Thread poster: Matthias Brombach

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:19
Member (2007)
Dutch to German
+ ...
May 18

One of my US based agencies recently asked me to sign an online permission slip to have a background check done by Wymoo (a private US investigation firm) for one of their clients. Of course I had to sign it before I got any information about the source text ("... a software...") and what it deals about. The form to sign would have allowed Wymoo to assemble all information about me available at any (US) authorities and other institutions one could imagine, plus a drug test. My question: Is this ... See more
One of my US based agencies recently asked me to sign an online permission slip to have a background check done by Wymoo (a private US investigation firm) for one of their clients. Of course I had to sign it before I got any information about the source text ("... a software...") and what it deals about. The form to sign would have allowed Wymoo to assemble all information about me available at any (US) authorities and other institutions one could imagine, plus a drug test. My question: Is this procedure normal in the US nowadays, to sign such an agreement, to get certain jobs assigned at all, and what experiences did any of you make with Wymoo? Any concerns or would you trust them dealing with your data?
To take it ahead: I did not sign, and the prospective job was outside of my scope of subject area anyway (finance software for banks).
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Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:19
English to French
+ ...


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Not common May 18

It happens. FWIW, customers don't pay enough for me to agree to such privacy breaches.

writeaway
Michele Fauble
Philippe Etienne
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:19
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
For a bank? May 18

So one private company wants permission for a second private company to investigate your background and report back to a third private company?

What on earth has (that part of) the world come to?


 

Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:19
English to French
+ ...
Not "the world" May 18

This applies to the USA, where such practices are quite common for hiring employees, although rare WRT free-lance translators.

 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:19
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
background checks May 18

I was recently contacted by two US-based agencies that wanted me to consent to a background check. I told them to pound sand.
When I started to work for a Japanese brokerage on Wall Street I had to be finger-printed but no drug test. I would expect this for a financial institution but for a translation agency no way!


 

RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:19
German to English
GDPR May 18

Matthias,

Did your agency client spell out your rights under the GDPR? As an EU resident, you are automatically covered by the GDPR, which takes precedence over any foreign data protection laws (in the US, that would probably only be HIPAA in any case, which is presumably irrelevant in your case).

If not, your US agency client is in breach of the GDPR. Also, the drug test is almost certainly illegal in Germany, and the fact that your client (and the end client) is in th
... See more
Matthias,

Did your agency client spell out your rights under the GDPR? As an EU resident, you are automatically covered by the GDPR, which takes precedence over any foreign data protection laws (in the US, that would probably only be HIPAA in any case, which is presumably irrelevant in your case).

If not, your US agency client is in breach of the GDPR. Also, the drug test is almost certainly illegal in Germany, and the fact that your client (and the end client) is in the US does not change that at all.
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Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:19
Member (2007)
Dutch to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all ... May 19

... for your replies so far. I´m afraid there is principally nothing legally wrong with the requested background checking, as long as those securing measures are according to US laws and that´s what they seem to be. The European GDPR is out of scope for an US-based agency. And what ever foreign agreement I do sign with negative effects on me, isn´t necessarily forbidden by applicable German law. What bothers me most is the attitude the PM showed towards me as a potential supplier: First to si... See more
... for your replies so far. I´m afraid there is principally nothing legally wrong with the requested background checking, as long as those securing measures are according to US laws and that´s what they seem to be. The European GDPR is out of scope for an US-based agency. And what ever foreign agreement I do sign with negative effects on me, isn´t necessarily forbidden by applicable German law. What bothers me most is the attitude the PM showed towards me as a potential supplier: First to sign an agreement, which goes far into my privacy matters as a prerequisite, in order to check the text for its feasibility and to submit an offer at all. Perhaps she would have assigned it to another person anyway because of pricing reasons, perhaps she was only curious or bored and wanted to see, if there is any recording about me. I just wondered how many colleagues would have signed it without any concerns simply to get the task assigned. But they would not have replied to my post, would they? And if it was not about performing a drug test, but with a test on my current inflammation score, things could have been discussed more easily, because some medical tests are not always covered by my health insurance. I am still curious how far Wymoo would investigate and what the results could be for recordings from countries outside the US. Would they read my posts here??? Check my KudoZ points? My attitude towards agencies? Would they invite me to the next US Air Base in Germany for a drug test??? Wait, I have to stop now, somebody is knocking at the door, although I do not expect visitors ...Collapse


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:19
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
GDPR isn't just for EU companies; you're in the EU May 19

Matthias Brombach wrote:
The European GDPR is out of scope for an US-based agency. And what ever foreign agreement I do sign with negative effects on me, isn´t necessarily forbidden by applicable German law.

I'm not so sure about that, and nor is this Forbes article
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2017/12/04/yes-the-gdpr-will-affect-your-u-s-based-business/

Wait, I have to stop now, somebody is knocking at the door, although I do not expect visitors ...

Stay safe, Matthias


Mirko Mainardi
Teresa Borges
Katalin Szilárd
 

RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:19
German to English
Sheila's right May 19

Just because the agency is in the US doesn't mean the GDPR doesn't apply. The point is that YOU are resident in the EU, so the GDPR applies automatically. That's why many US-based companies have signed up to the "GDPR privacy shield" because they have to comply with the GDPR, either because of the kind of work they do or their suppliers, or both.

US-based translation agencies have to be GDPR-compliant if they use freelancers resident in the EU. They don't have a choice. It is not "o
... See more
Just because the agency is in the US doesn't mean the GDPR doesn't apply. The point is that YOU are resident in the EU, so the GDPR applies automatically. That's why many US-based companies have signed up to the "GDPR privacy shield" because they have to comply with the GDPR, either because of the kind of work they do or their suppliers, or both.

US-based translation agencies have to be GDPR-compliant if they use freelancers resident in the EU. They don't have a choice. It is not "out of scope".

Of course the whole thing is ludicrous in the first place. There is no need for any background checks, far less drug tests, to translate/localize banking software.
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Michele Fauble
 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:19
Member (2007)
Dutch to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting! May 20

RobinB wrote:

US-based translation agencies have to be GDPR-compliant if they use freelancers resident in the EU. They don't have a choice. It is not "out of scope".

Of course the whole thing is ludicrous in the first place. There is no need for any background checks, far less drug tests, to translate/localize banking software.


Thank you, Robin, and thank you, Sheila, for the link (I´m fine, by the way): I´ll send the link to the PM. I guess, she will then never again knock at my door for a "background check" (and for anything else).


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:19
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
May be more than just US information / drug tests and EU law May 20

Matthias Brombach wrote:
The form to sign would have allowed Wymoo to assemble all information about me available at any (US) authorities and other institutions one could imagine...


Wymoo offers international background checks and claims to have personnel in various countries to perform checks within those countries. It's possible, therefore, that not only US but also Germany records would be consulted. It is my understanding that these records would be mostly public records, but despite the fact that these records are public, many US states require consent for background checks if the check is done for some official purpose (e.g. getting hired).

Did this form allow you to select which types of checks you would allow, or was it a general consent that you could either accept as a whole or reject as a whole? I mean, could you consent to some parts, but reject the drug test?

RobinB wrote:
Did your agency client spell out your rights under the GDPR? ... If not, your US agency client is in breach of the GDPR.


Really? If an agency asks me "are you willing to be checked out" and I say "yes", then that "yes" isn't consent. The actual consent is given when I sign an actual consent form, and that form would likely explain my rights. I would not consider the agency to be in breach of GDPR simply because their original, tentative request did not contain all GDPR information.

Also, the drug test is almost certainly illegal in Germany...


Why do you say that? Is there a law in Germany against asking someone to have a drug test done voluntarily, or against asking someone to disclose private information voluntarily? Would it be illegal for the translator to consent to such testing, in Germany?

FWIW, here's some information that I found about that question:
https://blog.cansfordlabs.co.uk/the-drug-and-alcohol-testing-blog/workplace-drug-testing-rules-around-europe
https://www.arbeitsrecht-weltweit.de/2016/09/02/drug-abuse-and-employment-law-in-europe/

Here you'll see that while the law in e.g. France states that an employer is not allowed to require a drug test before employment, Germany does allow employers to require a drug test before any employment contracts are signed. On the other hand, generally speaking the only information that the drug testing facility may communicate to the employer is whether or not the person is "fit for work" (e.g. his drug habits will not be a safety hazard for others) and not which drugs were found (if any).


[Edited at 2019-05-20 07:58 GMT]


 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:19
Member (2007)
Dutch to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
General consent May 20

Samuel Murray wrote:
Did this form allow you to select which types of checks you would allow, or was it a general consent that you could either accept as a whole or reject as a whole? I mean, could you consent to some parts, but reject the drug test?


Hi Samuel,
there was only the possibility to sign or not to sign the agreement (online) including the (possible) drug test. How a drug test would have to be performed (if at all), I don´t know.
It´s not that I had something to hide, which would make me unfit for the alleged purpose, but I do not like to grant a general permission too quickly to have sniff foreign persons in my private affairs. The PM already knew my qualities from several jobs done and how reliable I am. What annoyed me most, was that the entire communication started with asking me to sign the form without telling me first the background of the possible task, which I would have rejected and did reject anyway. I´m not sure whether it would be wise to make the agreement public here in the forum.


 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:19
Member (2007)
Dutch to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Epilogue: May 20

I contacted the PM again and what she thinks of her part being compliant with the European GDPR and relevant associations within US law. She ignored it but told me instead that the end client, who requested the background checking, is based in Germany ... vielen Dank!

 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:19
Member (2007)
Dutch to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
If I knew ... May 20

... the name and adress of that German guy, then I would know what type of drug test would be appropriate and where to place it ...

[Bearbeitet am 2019-05-20 14:59 GMT]


Kay Denney
 

Kathy Howard
Mexico
Local time: 12:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
I think it's standard practice in the U.S. May 20

I've known companies to use them and they are very reputable as far as investigation companies go. For U.S. companies, verifying someone's background via background check investigations and due diligence has become standard risk management practice for the most part, especially when the investment, company or individual / candidate is from a foreign country. But, I also understand your privacy concerns and if you are ever considering a job opportunity with a company or entity that is asking fo... See more
I've known companies to use them and they are very reputable as far as investigation companies go. For U.S. companies, verifying someone's background via background check investigations and due diligence has become standard risk management practice for the most part, especially when the investment, company or individual / candidate is from a foreign country. But, I also understand your privacy concerns and if you are ever considering a job opportunity with a company or entity that is asking for too much information, you can always decline for privacy purposes and say no thank you. Wymoo doesn't conduct drug testing that I'm aware of, so not sure about that part. Hope this helps.Collapse


 


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