Written By Thomas Ahearn
A New Jersey federal court has approved an $870,500 settlement between New Jersey-based New England Motor Freight and a group of 7,000 truck drivers who claimed that “the carrier denied them employment after conducting criminal background checks and obtaining credit reports and driver history records without their authorization,” according to a story on the Transport Topics website available at http://www.ttnews.com/articles/showtemplate.aspx?storyid=35124&t=Court-Approves-Settlement-in-New-Jersey-Background-Check-Lawsuit.
Transport Topics reports that the lead plaintiff in the 2012 lawsuit “was a driver who the carrier did not hire because it conducted, without his authorization, a background check that erroneously identified him as a convicted felon.” The driver’s attorney told Transport Topics that this “particular problem unfortunately is not uncommon in this day and age with so many people and so many common names.”
The driver’s attorney told Transport Topics the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires drivers to be notified that a carrier plans to conduct background checks or credit checks. The carrier also must give applicants a written copy of a “pre-adverse action notice” if they are not hired for a job because of information found on their background checks so they have an opportunity to respond to the findings.
The Chief Operating Officer of New England Motor Freight told Transport Topics that the carrier was advised that some of their procedures for background checks “did not follow the protocol of the Fair Credit Reporting Act” and that the company has “since identified and corrected these deficiencies” in their processes.
“The settlement follows a number of class action lawsuits against employers and background check firms alleging violation of basic procedural steps required by the FCRA when performing background checks on job applicants,” said Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR). “The lawsuit underscores the need for employers to work with an accredited background screening firm that understands that legal compliance and accuracy are the two biggest priorities in providing this critical service.”
For more information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a nationwide background check firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – at http://www.esrcheck.com, call Toll Free 888.999.4474, or email [email protected].