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Background Checks

Paramount Gets FCRA Claim Thrown Out

Finally, a voice of reason. Employers got some good news from a judge in the Northern District of California last week, when the court granted Paramount Picture’s motion to dismiss a class action claim for alleged Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) violations. The case was one of the many class actions that have been flooding the federal courts, disputing the validity of the disclosure form used for running a background check. This wave of litigation has erupted over the past twelve months, putting employers on the defensive against FCRA claims seeking millions in statutory and punitive damages.  The judge’s decision to dismiss the case against Paramount is a welcome development, and may be a turning point for employers facing FCRA class actions of this type.    [...]

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Missing Data

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been busy. At the request of Congress, it’s been looking into criminal background checks. Last week the GAO released a report of findings from a two year study titled “CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS: Additional Actions Could Enhance the Completeness of Records Used for Employment-Related Background Checks.” The report lives up to that lengthy title–it is the most comprehensive accounting of the current state of FBI background checks, criminal record databases, and practices since 2006. It reveals when and why states conduct FBI record checks, and looks at whether states have improved upon reporting complete records into the FBI database. It also looks at the practices of private companies that conduct criminal record checks. [...]

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Big Data and HR

Big Data and Work-Force Science: A Boon for HR

Big data is transforming the information world at an alarming rate. It’s no surprise that the data being collected, sliced, sorted, and sold is being used to help businesses make better hiring decisions. According to the New York Times, a growing number of entrepreneurs are applying big data to human resources and the search for talent, creating a field called work-force science. To quote technology writer Steve Lohr, “work-force science, in short, is what happens when big data meets HR”  The data part of the equation is collecting all of the digital imprints that a worker or job seeker has left in the course of web browsing, e-mailing, instant messaging, or posting on social media. The “science” part—evaluating and measuring the data—is the tricky part. Silicon Valley start-ups are developing analytics and algorithms to put this data to work for recruiters and employers. [...]

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Ban the box New Jersey

The New Jersey ban the box law, titled The Opportunity to Compete Act, went into effect on March 1, 2015. The law impacts both private and public employers hiring in the Garden State. Like most ban the box laws, the statute does not prohibit employers from asking candidates about their criminal past nor does it prohibit criminal background checks, but it does change the timeframe within which an employer can make an inquiry about criminal history. [...]

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Beef ‘O Brady’s has been served with a class action complaint for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The U.S. sports bar and grill is being targeted for now-familiar claims surrounding the company’s authorization and disclosure for employment background checks. [...]

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gencom-ltl-services

Genwest/Gencom Transportation LLC has been served with a class action complaint for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA) as well as a discrimination claim. The US transportation, warehousing, and distribution firm is being targeted for now-familiar claims surrounding the company’s authorization and disclosure for an employment background check. [...]

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Home Depot Background Checks

Litigation Update

Home Depot has been hit with another class action lawsuit[1] alleging violations of federal law based on its employment background screening practices. The mega home improvement store is facing a second Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) lawsuit—this one filed in the Northern District of Georgia on February 11, 2015. The focus of the present case is, like many other cases we have seen in recent weeks, the portion of the FCRA that requires a “clear and conspicuous disclosure” about the background check that is made in writing “in a document that consists solely of the disclosure.” [...]

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Litigation Update

Time Warner Cable has been named in a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) class action lawsuit filed last week in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The class action complaint was filed on February 6, 2015, alleging that the company violated portions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act in its employment background screening process. The Plaintiff is a frequent flier—he’s the same guy who was named in one of the FCRA class action cases we reported on last week. Same law firm, same plaintiff, same allegations. Once again, the case focuses on the portion of the FCRA that requires a “clear and conspicuous disclosure” about the background check that is made in writing “in a document that consists solely of the disclosure.” [...]

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Michael's Background Checks

Litigation Update

Michaels Stores was hit with another FCRA class action case last week. You might recall that the arts and crafts retailer was named in a similar suit just a few months ago*. The current complaint is once again about the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) disclosure requirement under 15 USC 1681b(b)(2)(a). Specifically at issue is the requirement that disclosure is made in a document that consists solely of the disclosure. The complaint alleges that in the company’s employment background screening process, the disclosure is “embedded within one long continuous web page that applicants fill out” that includes application information and a liability release. [...]

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Diploma Mills

The World Wide Web just got a little bit safer for consumers. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has shut down two bad actors running Florida-based diploma mills. Maria Garcia and Alexander Wolfram and IDM Services, LLC, conducting business as “Jefferson High School Online” and “Enterprise High School Online,” have entered into a settlement with the FTC for payment of 11.1 million dollars. In addition, they are now banned from marketing and selling academic degrees. This settlement is the end result of charges filed in September of last year by the FTC in a U.S. district court in Florida. Settlement payments have been partially suspended based on the Defendant’s inability to pay. [...]

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