News & Resources

Background screeners fined for violations

Aug 13, 2012 Dave King

After the recession of 2008 changed the economic landscape across the country, many were left jobless. A such, many former business people have continued to look for jobs and send in applications. However, companies need to take measures to protect themselves, because not everyone is honest about who they are and past indiscretions on their resumes. It is usually beneficial if a business enlists the help of background screening firm to check up on claims made during the applications process. Many of the most successful businesses use a combination of criminal, employment, driving and consumer credit data to create a valid profile of their potential hire. Background investigators, however, have to remember to always follow the rules that govern their industry or risk lawsuits. Screeners sued for alleged violations Recently, following the Fair Credit Reporting Act has been at the forefront of the minds of agents, after HireRight Solutions settled with the Federal Trade Commission during a suit. According to insideARM, the company has to pay the federal organization $2.6 million to settle the argument alleging they violated the FCRA. The source reported during litigation, the FTC said HireRight failed to ensure the information provided by their reports was current and reflected the latest updates. In some specific cases, applicants were not hired because their checks listed them as criminals, though their records were expunged, insideARM reported. The screening company was also accused of including multiple records of the same criminal charge in files, failing to follow reasonable procedures to make sure the reports are correct and mixing up some people's records, according to the source. Background checkers must abide by rules Because of the vast growth of the background check industry, many lawmakers are turning their attention to the industry, The New York Times reported, noting that nine out of 10 companies now use criminal checks to verify legitimacy. According to the newspaper, the most important regulation background checkers need to remember to comply with is the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which provides rules for what information can be used in investigations and what to do with data inaccuracies. However, after many issues with false information showing up during checks, a number of people are calling for the federal government to levy new rules, the Times reported.