Background Checks

A well-known background screening firm was recently fined for failure to faithfully observe the privacy rights guaranteed consumers by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The case represents the first time the FTC has charged an employment background screening firm with violating the FCRA, and is the second-largest civil penalty that the FTC has obtained under the Act.

According to the FTC, the firm was cited for “(1) failing to use reasonable procedures to assure the ensure maximum accuracy of its background reports, specifically noting that some background reports failed to reflect expungement of criminal records or provided obviously erroneous consumer report information; (2) failing to provide consumers with access to information in their files and closed dispute investigations without written notice; and (3) failing to follow requirements that background screeners who use public information notify consumers that such information is reported or to ensure the reported information is complete and up-to-date.”

As a result of what I would consider to be sloppy work, the Federal Trade Commission has imposed a fine of $2.6 million dollars on this background checking company!

At the same time we have witnessed a significant increase in use of background screening to vet candidates, credit reporting agencies and HR departments have begun to look for ways to cut corners and costs in the process.  Failure to carefully review and verify information contained in a multistate data base puts both the CRA and the employer in a danger of potentially using inaccurate information – in clear violation of an applicant’s rights.

A county-specific check may require incremental time and effort but it has been our experience that this is clearly the best source for the most accurate data.

Taking the extra time to use this resource is just one of the ways that Barada Associates scrupulously follows the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.