In recent weeks, inaccurate criminal background checks from data brokers containing errors that cost job seekers employment have come under fire on several fronts, including a final privacy protection report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommending regulations on data brokers, a letter sent to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) asking for a strengthening of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a report from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) on inaccurate background check reports, and an article written by safe hiring expert Attorney Lester Rosen, CEO of accredited background check firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR), that is available at http://www.esrcheck.com/articles/NCLC-Report-on-Criminal-Background-Checks-Inaccurate.php.
- In March 2012, the National Employment Law Project (NELP), National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), and Community Legal Services, Inc. (CLS) sent a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) providing information on a proposed Summary of Rights and regulatory changes to strengthen the protections found in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regarding criminal background checks on job applicants for employment. The letter to the CFPB is available at http://www.nelp.org/page/-/SCLP/2012/NELPrecommendationstoCFPBforFCRAenforcement.pdf?nocdn=1. For more information, read the ESR News Blog ‘Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Asked to Strengthen Enforcement of FCRA for Criminal Background Checks of Job Applicants’ at http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/2012/04/12/consumer-financial-protection-bureau-asked-to-strengthen-enforcement-of-fcra-for-criminal-background-checks-of-job-applicants/.
- In April 2012, a report on background check companies from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) called ‘Broken Records: How Errors by Criminal Background Checking Companies Harm Workers and Businesses’ claimed mistakes on criminal background screening reports conducted for employers prevents many job seekers from finding work. The report is available at http://www.nclc.org/issues/broken-records.html. For more information, read the ESR News Blog ‘Report Claiming Inaccurate Criminal Background Checks Cost Jobseekers Employment Contains Inaccuracies According to Safe Hiring Expert’ at http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/2012/04/13/report-claiming-inaccurate-criminal-background-checks-cost-jobseekers-employment-contains-inaccuracies-according-to-safe-hiring-expert/.
However, the NCLC report “is itself fatally flawed with errors and inaccuracy,” according to Lester Rosen, author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual,’ the first comprehensive guide to employment screening. To address the “erroneous information and unfounded conclusions” contained in the report, Rosen has written an article, ‘Consumer Group Report on Inaccurate Criminal Background Check Reports Loses Impact Due to Lack of Objectivity and Errors,’ that is available at http://www.esrcheck.com/articles/NCLC-Report-on-Criminal-Background-Checks-Inaccurate.php.
In the article, Rosen writes that while the NCLC report “suggests inaccurate criminal background checks are widespread,” the report only “cites a handful of anecdotal stories and some court cases where an inaccurate background check had grave consequences on a consumer’s ability to get a job out of the millions of background checks conducted yearly.” Statements in the report such as “professional background screening companies routinely make mistakes,” and “criminal background checks often contain incorrect information or sealed information” are simply not supported by the few cases and anecdotes. Consequently, Rosen states “this report on errors and inaccurate information is itself fatally flawed with errors and inaccuracy.”
Rosen also diferentiates “data brokers” from Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) that conduct FCRA regulated background checks: “The NCLC report apparently does not appreciate or understand the difference between “data brokers” who dispense aggregated/unconfirmed data and Consumer Reporting Agencies that assemble and evaluate material from a number of sources to provide a background check report where all information reported has been confirmed at the source during its preparation. The report erroneously focuses on some data brokers who assemble and sell unconfirmed bulk data. As a result, the report fails to understand the active role that CRAs play in working with consumers.”
In addition, Rosen writes that, in lumping CRAs together with data brokers, the NCLC report fails to note that a group of approximately 170 leading CRAs have formed a group called ‘Concerned CRAs’ to publically reject the use of databases without taking the steps necessary to a ensure accuracy and completeness as required under the FCRA. The Concerned CRAs position statements on bulk data and offshoring can be found at http://www.concernedcras.com/.
For more information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and nationwide background screening firm accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – at http://www.esrcheck.com/ or call 415.898.0044 or 888.999.4474.
About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM’ – provides accurate and actionable information, empowering employers to make informed safe hiring decisions for the benefit for our clients, their employees, and the public. ESR literally wrote the book on background screening with “The Safe Hiring Manual” by Founder and CEO Lester Rosen. ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percentage of screening firms. By choosing an accredited screening firm like ESR, employers know they have selected an agency that meets the highest industry standards. For more information about Employment Screening Resources (ESR), visit http://www.esrcheck.com/ or call 415.898.0044 or 888.999.4474.
About ESR News:
The Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at firstname.lastname@example.org.