Know Your Rights

Employment Background Checks Causing Job Loss

A recent report released by the National Consumer Law Center on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 reveals that criminal background checks conducted on prospective employees routinely contain errors, mismatch people or misclassify criminal offenses.Justice _scale

Employers Increasing Background Checks on Hires

The report said that since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, employers increasingly have conducted background checks on prospective hires.  That has created a booming industry of Internet companies that cull public information databases for employers. But the information produced by some of those firms is riddled with errors, the report says. 

Background Reports Regularly Have Errors

"Background screening companies routinely cut corners to improve their profits and then they wipe their hands of any responsibility for producing an inaccurate or misleading report that can cost a worker his or her job," wrote Persis Yu, the report's co-author.

The National Consumer Law Center brought up the matter of Samuel Jackson, a person we wrote about in a previous blog "The Crime of Having a Common Name".  In that story, we write about how he was allegedly denied a job after a prospective employer ran a background check that returned a 1987 rape conviction. But the man, Samuel M. Jackson, was only 4 years old in 1987. The rape conviction was for a man named Samuel L. Jackson, who was incarcerated at the time the check was run. See article

Background Checks Contain Incomplete Information

Situations like these are becoming more and more common as more background checks are performed, the report found. Background checks sometimes contain sealed or expunged information or omit information on how a case was resolved. A job applicant who was arrested, for example, may have been found innocent. But that outcome may not be contained in the information supplied to the employer.  In addition, some charges that may have started out as a felony, may have been reduced to a misdemeanor, though the background report still listed as a felony.  This latter situation is one we specifically dealt with successfully at Larry P. Smith & Associates. Ltd.

Call for Regulations on Background Checks

The report's authors urged the recently formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to draw up regulations to ensure that background checks are accurate and to require background-check companies to register with the bureau so consumers have an opportunity to correct false or misleading information.  The reports authors also urge the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the many companies that employers use to make sure they are not violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a federal law that protects consumers from false information in credit reports.

SmithMarco, P.C., has over 30 years of combined experience practicing law protecting the rights of consumers around the country and handles Fair Credit Reporting Act cases. If information about you is inaccurately being reported, or if you feel that you're rights have been violated, please contact us for a free case review.

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