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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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March 2015 BTW

For those interested in staying up-to-date with the latest in compliance for pre-employment background screening and the laws that affect your use of employment background checks, follow our publication, BTW: Your Guide to Staying Out of Hot Water. This compliance resource has been created by our VP of Compliance and General Counsel, Angela Preston, and is a must-read for human resources and security professionals.

Is Big Brother Watching? When Big Data Meets 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. Read More

New Jersey’s Ban the Box Law Effective March 1, 2015

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. Read More

The Federal Trade Commission Takes Down 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. Read More



View March Issue

Have a question for the next issue of BTW? Submit YOUR question for Ask Angela here: askangela@employeescreen.com

 

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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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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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bart_frivolous_lawsuit-300x164

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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Pizza Hut Logo

Litigation Update

Pizza Hut is the latest restaurant in the hot seat. The much loved pizza chain is facing an Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) lawsuit filed last week in the Southern District of New York. A class action complaint was filed on January 15, 2015, alleging that the company violated portions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act in its employment background screening process. The target was once again, 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.”

Case Name: Rivera Alberto v. Pizza Hut of America, Case No. 15CV00308, U.S. District Ct. for the Southern District of N.Y.

File Date: January 15, 2015

Cause of Action: Class Action, Fair Credit Reporting Act 15 USC 1681(b)(2)(a), Disclosure and Authorization

[...]

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