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Background Check Blog

Going to OHUG in June? Corporate Screening Can Help You Save

Corporate Screening invites you to join us and more than 1,800 others in Las Vegas for the OHUG Global Conference 2015, which will be held from June 8-11, 2015.

 

This annual conference is a weeklong networking and learning opportunity for anyone working with PeopleSoft, E-Business, Fusion and Taleo products. While the annual conference offers attendees countless opportunities to reconnect with peers and colleagues, the main goal of the meeting is to support our members with a learning experience that is second to none.

 

OHUG has packed the week with outstanding speakers, valuable training events and one-of-a-kind networking opportunities. Attendees can learn more about the products they use every day and meet face-to-face with Oracle representatives who develop and manage those products. This year’s conference offers more than 150 sessions.

 

As an upcoming exhibitor at the OHUG 2015 Global Conference, Corporate Screening is able to offer attendees the opportunity to save over $500 on their registration fee. To do so, please visit Corporate Screening’s Upcoming Events page, scroll down to OHUG and complete the form that lets us know that you are planning to attend the conference, and we will send you a promo code you can enter into the “discount code” field when you register.

 

The value of this experience extends far beyond the conference. Come, change the way you work with and think of your Oracle HCM applications. We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas!

FCRA Class Action Updates: Paramount and Whole Foods

You’ve seen the headlines about the many FCRA-related class action lawsuits brought against a number of large, well-known employers. In today’s blog, Corporate Screening provides some updates on FCRA class action lawsuits brought against Paramount Pictures and Whole Foods.  While each case is unique, the contradictory court decisions highlight the controversy regarding technical violations of the FCRA.  A controversy you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of.

 

Paramount Pictures

In January, we reported on a lawsuit that alleged Paramount Pictures violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act because the company’s disclosure document was not a stand-alone document. A recent article from the law firm Troutman Sanders reports that the lawsuit was dismissed. The plaintiff claimed that the disclosure form violated the FCRA because it also included the following sentence: “”I certify that the information contained on this Authorization form is true and correct and that my application may be terminated based on any false, omitted, or fraudulent information.”

 

The judge in this case dismissed the suit on the following rationale; ”the one-sentence certification Paramount included in its disclosure form if not a part of the statutorily permitted authorization, was closely related to it, and would similarly serve to focus the consumer’s attention on the disclosure.”   The spirit of the standalone disclosure requirement in the FCRA is so that consumers are clearly made aware that they may be the subject of a consumer report and their rights and that this notification is not buried amongst other notifications they may be required to review and/or sign. The judge in this case felt the additional information on Paramount’s disclosure may not have technically met the statutory requirement; however, the additional information did not violate the spirit of the rule as it would not distract the consumer from the disclosure.

 

This is good news for employers, in that, in this instance a technical violation of the FCRA was not enough for a plaintiff to win judgment.

 

On the other hand…

 

Whole Foods

Whole Foods‘ motion to dismiss the class action lawsuit against them for violating the FCRA was denied. The plaintiff alleged Whole Foods disclosure form contains a waiver and release of liability, and therefore violates the FCRA. Whole Foods argued that the evidence introduced by the plaintiff indicates that there are two forms – a disclosure and another liability release. The plaintiff claimed the forms should be considered one document because they were read and signed at the same time. In the end, the judge in the case declined to dismiss the lawsuit based on this, and the lawsuit is moving forward

 

Take Aways – What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

While the Paramount dismissal is encouraging that perhaps technical violations of the FCRA may not be enough for a lawsuit to prevail, as an employer, you likely do not want to leave that up to a judge to decide. You should review your disclosure and authorization forms to ensure they comply with the FCRA. Corporate Screening has made sample forms available to you in the “Hints & Resources” section in EASE.

Update: LinkedIn Avoids FCRA Class Action Lawsuit

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In October, a class action lawsuit was filed against LinkedIn, claiming the company acted as a credit reporting agency by providing premium users (potential employers) with “Trusted Reference” reports. The plaintiffs alleged that LinkedIn violated the FCRA because it did not get consent from consumers for the report, nor did it allow consumers to dispute the information contained in the reports, therefore violating the FCRA.

According to Courthouse News Service, earlier this week LinkedIn motioned for the case to be dismissed because the reports did not meet the definition of a credit report. The judge in this case sided with LinkedIn, but allowed the plaintiffs to amend the complaint, giving them a deadline of May 19 to do so.

This case is unique compared to other FCRA class action lawsuits that we have reported on, since LinkedIn is not a consumer reporting agency (CRA). Most of the FCRA class action lawsuits we have seen have concentrated on employers who are not following adverse action procedures and/or use disclosure forms that plaintiffs claim violate the FCRA because they are not stand alone documents, although some have included complaints against CRAs.

It remains to be seen whether or not the plaintiffs choose to amend their complaint against LinkedIn. Should that happen, Corporate Screening will keep you updated.

Check Out Our Newest Video!

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Corporate Screening invites you to check out our latest video, which showcases our organization and what we do. Featuring our CEO, Dennis Drellishak, and President Greg Dubecky, Corporate Screening Overview shares information about the history of our company and the background screening industry, plus much more.

And while you’re at it, make sure you check our our growing video library, housed on our video page (located under Resources).

Visit Corporate Screening at the Tri-State Conference April 29-May 1

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Attention everyone attending the 2015 Tri-State Conference, from April 29 to May 1 at the Marriott Myrtle Beach Resort at Grand Dunes!

NCHHRA, SCHHRA and VaSHHRA have teamed up to present this year’s conference, Strategic Leaders for healthcare’s Future Leading the Wave of Change. This event promises to be an excellent opportunity to network as well as gain continuing education credits.

Corporate Screening invites all NCHHRA, SCHHRA and VaSHHRA members to visit us at the show. As a leading background screening provider to some of the nation’s top employers, we deliver strategic solutions. Whatever your screening needs, our customized programs can help your organization mitigate risk and make informed hiring decisions. Stop by booth 46 to find out how Corporate Screening can assist you!

Food Lion Parent Company Settles FCRA Lawsuit for $3 Million

The parent company of Food Lion has recently joined the ranks of companies paying large dollar amounts to settle a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) class action lawsuit. On March 2, 2015, a preliminary motion was filed by the plaintiffs in Brown v. Delhaize America, LLC, (the parent company of Food Lion) in which the plaintiff’s attorneys are seeking the court’s approval of a $3 million FCRA class action settlement.

At the root of the lawsuit were the company’s disclosure forms and its adverse action procedures. As we have seen in many of these cases, the plaintiff claimed the defendants’ disclosure form violated the FCRA because it was not a stand-alone document. The plaintiff also claimed that the defendants “frequently took adverse employment action against their employees based on their background checks without providing those employees with a pre-adverse action notice required by the FCRA.”

This is another reminder to employers to review their disclosure forms and their adverse action procedures to make sure everything complies with the FCRA, as well as another state and local laws. Corporate Screening offers compliance services and products that can assist, including our Screening Assessment Program (SPA) and our Adverse Action Workflow Tool. For more information visit Compliance Services on our website, www.CorporateScreening.com

2015 ERC Hiring Trends & Practices Survey Now Open

Corporate Screening, in partnership with ERC, would like to invite you to participate in the 2015 Hiring Trends & Practices Survey. From the logistics of recruitment and the selection process to hiring related policies and metrics like time-to-fill and cost-per-hire, the final survey report will provide valuable benchmarking data and insights about the hiring trends and practices of organizations just like yours here in Northeast Ohio.

It doesn’t take a lot of time – about 15 minutes, and your input will help ERC gather the most up-to-date hiring metrics. Additionally, survey participants will receive a free electronic copy of the full report when it is published later this spring.

The deadline to participate in this survey is Friday, April 17, 2015. Click here to participate today.

If you have any questions, please contact ERC at 440-684-9700 or by email at surveys@yourERC.com.

Background Checks Are a Growing Trend in Youth Sports

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We’ve blogged a number of times on our VerifyStudents blog about the growing number of colleges and universities that have implemented background check policies designed to protect minors on their campuses. Organizations involved with student sports also appear to be joining in on this trend.

A recent article reported that the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) will require referees and umpires working with students to undergo background checks beginning this summer. The move comes after two incidents: the first, when a Boston Globe investigation indicated some of the referees had serious criminal records; and the second (which happened shortly after the Globe investigation), when a high school basketball referee was charged with murdering his wife.

Criminal offenses that could prevent employment include those “ involving violence, threats of violence, drugs, sexual assault, and crimes against minors, among other things. Suspension would be immediate and would last until the legal case is resolved.  Disqualified referees can appeal twice to review panels.” 

The MIAA is not the only ones requiring background checks. A USA Today article reports that USA Basketball is beginning a program that not only certifies basketball coaches, but also improves the safety for participating students by requiring its coaches to undergo background checks. A spokesman for the organization said it wants to implement standards for coaching that make the game both enjoyable and safe.

Update: EEOC vs. Freeman Decision

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On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a summary judgment ruling from August 2013 (read our blog for more detail) that dismissed the EEOC’s lawsuit against Freeman, Inc., a service provider for corporate events (EEOC vs Freeman). The lawsuit alleged that Freeman’s background and credit checks created a disparate impact against African American, Hispanic and male candidates. A recent Seyfarth Shaw blog states,”the Fourth Circuit unanimously affirmed Judge Titus’ rejection of the “utterly unreliable analysis” of the EEOC’s expert, while a concurring judge went out of his way to chide the EEOC at length for its litigation tactics across this line of systemic background check cases.”

The bottom line was that the courts found the EEOC’s expert and his reports to be unreliable, citing a number of reasons: he used a selective data sample, which skewed the results; and the contained missing data, mathematical errors and coding errors. Seyfarth Shaw’s blog continues:

This ruling is the latest in a string of defeats to the EEOC in its campaign to challenge employer’s use of background checks in hiring decisions.  The Fourth Circuit decision is particularly noteworthy for a blistering concurrence by Judge Steven Agee.  Judge Agee agreed with the decision of the panel, noting that it “was not a close question,” but wrote separately to excoriate the EEOC for its questionable litigation tactics in the Freeman case and across this line of cases generally.  The concurrence details at length the “record of slipshod work” by the EEOC’s expert in other similar cases, including EEOC v. Kaplan Higher Education Corp., a similar ruling by the Sixth Circuit last year.  Judge Agee outlined a scathing critique of the “slapdash nature of Murphy’s work,” concluding that Murphy “undeniably cherry-picked” and perhaps even “fully intended to skew the results.”

As a governmental agency, the EEOC holds a lot of power and has great resources at its disposal. Judge Agee expressed his concerns about this in the decision:

In deciding when to act, the Commission must balance sometimes-competing responsibilities. On the one hand, the agency must serve the employee’s interest by preventing an employer from “engaging in any unlawful employment practice” under Title VII. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(a). On the other hand, “the EEOC owes duties to employers as well: a duty reasonably to investigate charges, a duty to conciliate in good faith, and a duty to cease enforcement attempts after learning that an action lacks merit.” EEOC v. Argo Distrib., LLC, 555 F.3d 462, 473 (5th Cir. 2009). That the EEOC failed in the exercise of this second duty in the case now before us would be restating the obvious. 

While this decision is a blow to the EEOC, it remains to be seen whether this will slow down their aggressive strategy.

Uber Adds “Panic Button” in Chicago

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The Chicago Sun Times reports that Uber will add a “panic button” to its app in Chicago. If users feel threatened, they can press the button and the police will be alerted. Uber’s General Manager, Chris Taylor, said that the feature would likely become used in other areas.

 

Additionally, riders in Chicago who use Uber should be aware that in January an additional safety program was rolled out. Similar to secret shopping, 10 off-duty police officers were hired to take Uber rider one day a month and report back to the company about the experience.

 

Uber’s head of safety, Phillip Cardenas, states in the article that the company does background checks that go back seven years, which is two years more than the city requires.

 

As we have stated before, conducting background checks is important for businesses such as Uber, where customer safety should be of utmost concern.  The additional safety measures being used and piloted in Chicago should only help further to protect users.