Employment Screening Firms Can Report Information from Megan’s Law Website
March 25, 2010
I read a very interesting case yesterday that is impactful both for employment screening providers and the organizations they support. A registered Sex Offender in the state of California sued a background screening provider for reporting such information it found on the Megan’s Law website which led to him getting denied for employment. He didn’t sue because the information was inaccurate, but rather because he said the company violated the terms of the site which specified that it prohibits the use of such information for employment purposes.
The screening provider successfully argued on the basis on their First Amendment right to Free Speech. They simply republished information found on a public website. At no time, did they make a hiring recommendation or decision. The court ruled in their favor.
According to Jones Day, the firm representing the provider, “In a case of first impression, trial court dismissed the case pursuant to California’s anti-SLAPP law, which prohibits suits challenging an exercise of free speech unless the plaintiff can show a likelihood of success on the merits.”