A new class action lawsuit filed in federal court on August 23, 2011 underscores once again the importance of background screening firms following the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). According to the civil complaint for damages, a background screening firm allegedly reported sexual offender data on applicants based solely upon a name match only, without making any effort whatsoever to confirm if the data belonged to the applicant. The suit alleges that such a practice violated the rule contained in FCRA section 607(b) that a screening firm must take reasonable procedure to assure maximum possible accuracy.
In a case that underscores why it important for employers to have good screening procedures in place, a federal trial court ruled that a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) does not always mean that an employer is liable for damages, where the employer committed an inadvertent mistake that resulted in no damages to the consumer.
In the case, a consumer applied for a job, and the employer obtained a background check report from a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA). Although the employer had procedures in place to obtain a consent and disclosure as required by the FCRA, the background check report was allegedly requested without obtaining the proper consent first. Continue reading
According to statistics from recent studies on drug abuse by American workers, workplace drug and alcohol abuse may potentially cost U.S. businesses an estimated $100 billion each year and smaller businesses are more vulnerable to drug use in the workplace but drug tested less than larger businesses. In addition, statistics showed that a majority of drug and alcohol abusers in the United States were employed: 75 percent of illicit drug users over 18, nearly 80 percent of binge and heavy drinkers, and 60 percent of adults with substance abuse problems. These statistics were cited on a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) ‘General Workplace Impact’ page on the DOL website (See: http://www.dol.gov/compliance/topics/safety-health-working-partners.htm) and taken from the ‘Working Partners’ National Conference Proceedings Report sponsored by the DOL, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (See: http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/dfwp.html#thecost). Continue reading
New regulations announced by the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on credit scores and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) should not affect employers that use employment credit reports that do not contain credit scores. Credit reports provided by background screening firms do NOT contain credit scores.
The two federal agencies announced that the new regulations would go into effect on July 21, 2011. The new rules would require “disclosure of credit scores and information relating to credit scores in risk-based pricing notices if a credit score of the consumer is used in setting the material terms of credit.” The rules were announced in the Federal Register on March 15, 2011 and can found at: http://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2011/03/15/2011-5413/fair-credit-reporting-risk-based-pricing-regulations#h-48. Continue reading
A case decided by the California Supreme Court on June 23, 2011 graphically demonstrates the difference between allegations of negligent hiring as opposed to “vicarious” liability where an employer has direct responsibility for the acts of an employee. Continue reading
Employment screening background checks have become a mission critical task to ensure employers avoid the legal and financial nightmare of hiring employees who are unfit, unqualified, dangerous, or dishonest. However, some employers have misconceptions concerning background checks. Here are eight simple truths every business, both large and small, should know about employment screening background checks. Continue reading
Attorney at Law and background check expert Lester Rosen, founder and President of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), shows Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) how to stay out of legal hot water and avoid lawsuits and legal fees in an educational session ‘Staying Out of Court! Critical Considerations for Every Screening Firm’ at the 2011 National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado on Monday, March 21, 2011. Continue reading
In a case that once again emphasizes the importance of employers following the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) for employment screening, attorneys for thousands of mass-transit drivers and school bus drivers announced approval of a class action settlement of 4.3 million dollars for failure to adhere to the requirements of the FCRA. The proposed settlement was approved by a federal Judge in Illinois stemming from a national class-action suit involving allegations of FCRA violations against sister companies that employed drivers. Continue reading
A recent story from Canada in The Vancouver Sun – ‘Controversial device popular with public, private employers’ – reveals that while tests using a “truth verification” device called a Computerized Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA) to screen job applicants in British Columbia are becoming increasingly popular with employers, the accuracy rate is being questioned as some studies have shown the device to do no better than pure chance. Continue reading
Should employers be allowed to ask job applicants for the logins and passwords to their social network site profiles such as Facebook as part of employment background checks? The answer to this question may involve the next frontier of online privacy, suggests the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), after the Maryland Department of Corrections (DOC) asked a job candidate for his Facebook login information as part of a background check. Continue reading