Tag Archives: Supreme Court

Employers Should Not Let Guard Down on FCRA Compliance in Wake of Supreme Court Spokeo Ruling


Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Employers should not “let their guard down about complying with background screening rules” such as the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) despite recent court rulings such as the dismissal of a proposed FCRA class action lawsuit against transportation network company Lyft, Inc. by a federal judge who cited a decision by the Supreme Court in the case of Spokeo, Inc. v Robins as a reason for the decision, according to an article on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) website. Continue reading

Judge Dismisses FCRA Class Action Lawsuit Against Lyft Citing Supreme Court Spokeo Decision


Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

A California federal court judge has dismissed a class action lawsuit filed against Lyft, Inc. over alleged violations of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) during the transportation network company’s background check process citing the Supreme Court decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robbins that held plaintiffs must show concrete injury when alleging FCRA violations. Continue reading

Judge Finds FCRA Lawsuit against Background Check Firm May Proceed Under Supreme Court Spokeo Ruling


Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

In July of 2016, a federal judge in the Northern District of California certified a class of job applicants in a lawsuit claiming a background check firm violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that may proceed under the “concreteness” test established by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Spokeo case. Continue reading

Judge Dismisses FCRA Lawsuit Against Time Warner Citing Supreme Court Spokeo Ruling


Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

A Wisconsin federal judge has dismissed a class action lawsuit against Time Warner Cable, Inc. over alleged violations of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by finding the plaintiff could not show he suffered “concrete harm” from the background check process in a decision that cited a ruling in the case of Spokeo v. Robins by the Supreme Court of the United States. Continue reading

Supreme Court Rules in Spokeo Case on Whether Consumers Must Prove Concrete Injury in Class Action Lawsuits

 Supreme Court


Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On Monday, May 16, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled in the case of Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins (Docket No. 13-1339) that consumers must prove “concrete injury” in class action lawsuits for alleged “bare” violations of a federal statute. The SCOTUS ruling sent the case back to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stating its Article III standing analysis in a February 4, 2014 decision to reverse a dismissal of the case was incomplete because the Ninth Circuit “failed to consider both aspects of the Article III injury-in-fact requirement.” Continue reading

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Spokeo v. Robins


Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On November 2, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments in the case of Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins which could decide whether or not a plaintiff has the legal right, or “standing,” to bring a class action lawsuit for a technical violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) if that individual suffered no actual concrete harm from the violation. Continue reading

Class Action Lawsuit against Background Firm Alleging Fair Credit Reporting Act Violations Demonstrates Importance of Legal Compliance

The importance of legal compliance and background checks was underscored in the filing of a class action lawsuit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court on November 1, 2013 against a Florida based background screening firm for violations of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  The lawsuit seeks statutory damages that can be $100 to $1,000 for every consumer that was the subject of a background check done using the forms and methods that were the subject of the complaint.  The lawsuit also request punitive damages. The law also provides for attorneys fees. The case is Los Angeles County Superior Court case BR 526352. Continue reading

New Class Action Lawsuit against Major Financial Institution for FCRA Violations Demonstrates Importance of Legal Compliance

A class action case filed against a large financial institution – one of the nation’s top 10 banks – shows once again that legal compliance is a critical part of any background screening program.  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of an employee alleging violations of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). According to a press release from the Attorneys for the Plaintiff, the lawsuit alleges that the financial institution obtained background checks in violation of the FCRA and failed to provide required notices.  The Plaintiff seeks to represent a class of all of the financial institution’s employees and job applicants for the past three years. Continue reading

Supreme Court Ruling in NASA Case Limits Privacy Rights of Workers in Employment Background Checks

In a case pitting individual privacy rights of citizens against national security concerns of a country, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned a ruling limiting government inquiries about contract workers at a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) laboratory and ruled the federal government can ask employees about their drug treatment, medical conditions, or other personal matters during background checks and that the questions did not violate the constitutional privacy rights of employees. Continue reading

U.S. Supreme Court Ponders Question Whether Employment Background Checks by Government Ever Too Invasive

By Lester Rosen, ESR President & Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

A Law Blog on the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) website asks if there are limits to what the government can ask during background checks for employees of defense contractors and at what point – if any – does a government background check into the drug use history of low-level employees violate the constitutional right to privacy of those employees.

The WSJ Law Blog cites an account from the LA Times in which the U.S. Supreme Court was called upon to ponder this interesting question during a “skeptical hearing” to the 28 Caltech scientists challenging the government’s use of background checks due to the fact that Caltech runs the Jet Propulsion Laboratory under a contract with NASA.

Although the Caltech scientists won earlier at the Ninth Circuit, which held that questions on background checks violated their constitutional right to privacy, the LA Times story indicated most Supreme Court justices were more inclined to uphold the background checks as they explored the limits to what the government should be allowed to ask.

While the Times reported some justices would not close the door to all claims of privacy, the acting U.S. solicitor general urged the justices to rule that the government could ask open-ended questions of its employees and contract workers during background checks. A transcript of the Supreme Court arguments can be found at http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/09-530.pdf .

However, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) believes it is important to keep in mind that the type of government security background check discussed in the WSJ Law Blog – and by the Supreme Court – is much more in-depth than what private sector employers perform during background checks of their employees.

In the private sector, background checks are done by private companies for private employers, and not the government. Private sector background checks are focused on those things that a person has done in their public lives, such as where they worked, what schools they attended, or public records concerning criminal matters.

For a summary of the more limited tools used in the private sector for background checks, visit the Employment Screening Resources (ESR) ‘Services’ page at http://www.ESRcheck.com/services/.