Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
A class action lawsuit filed against LinkedIn Corp. alleges that the world’s largest web-based professional network violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) through a “search for references” feature that allows employers to obtain information about job applicants, according to a report from TopClassActions.com available at http://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/41915-class-action-lawsuit-takes-issue-linkedin-reference-reports/.
TopClassActions.com reports the LinkedIn class action lawsuit was filed by four plaintiffs who believe “their rights under the FCRA were violated by LinkedIn’s reference search functionality” and that “prospective employers may have made decisions that adversely affected their employment based on information found in LinkedIn’s reference search system.” LinkedIn is an online network of professionals with more than 300 million members that allows employers to post jobs and users to apply for them.
TopClassActions.com also reports that LinkedIn allows users to search for “references” on network members through a “Search for References” link. Using this feature, employers can access a report containing employment information of all individuals in the user’s network who may have worked with the applicant. They are then able to view the profile of any “references” that are listed and are able to send them a personal message through LinkedIn’s messaging system.
However, TopClassActions.com reports that the LinkedIn class action lawsuit alleges members are not notified when employers run a reference reports on them: “As such, any potential employer can anonymously dig into the employment history of any LinkedIn member, and make hiring and firing decisions based upon the information they gather, without the knowledge of the member, and without any safeguards in place as to the accuracy of the information that the potential employer has obtained.”
TopClassActions.com reports the four plaintiffs filed the LinkedIn class action lawsuit on behalf of themselves and all persons in the United States who in the last two years had a reference report run on them through LinkedIn’s “search for references” feature. The LinkedIn class action lawsuit also proposes a subclass of individuals who applied for employment through a LinkedIn job posting where employers ran reference reports through LinkedIn’s “search for references” feature.
TopClassActions.com reports the LinkedIn class action lawsuit claims LinkedIn sold employment “obtained in part from unwitting members and without complying with the FCRA,” the federal law that regulates the practices of Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) to ensure the accuracy, relevance, and confidentiality of consumer information. The LinkedIn class action lawsuit is Tracee Sweet, et al. v. LinkedIn Corp., Case No. 3:14-cv-04531, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
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