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A new class action lawsuit filed in federal court last week alleges that a background screening firm reported sexual offender data on applicants based solely upon a name match, without making any effort to confirm if the data belonged to the applicant. The suit demonstrates how critical it is that background screening firms follow the Fair Credit Reporting act (FCRA) as such a practice violates FCRA section 607(b) that a screening firm must take reasonable procedure to assure maximum possible accuracy.

Additionally the suit alleges that the screening firm also reported public record information to employers without informing consumers that such information was being reported and without maintaining strict procedures to assure that the public information that it reported was complete and up to date as required by FCRA section 613.

The background screening firm in this case reported seven possible sexual offender matches relating to three individuals who had the same name, according to the lead plaintiff. Of those matches, one was convicted when the plaintiff was four years old and had a different date of birth, and had a different race. The second match belonged to a 66-year-old who was sentenced to life in prison, with a different race and date of birth. The third was also of another race and date of birth. The plaintiff in this case stated that he never lived in any of the states where the matches were reported and was not a sexual offender.

This case speaks directly to the price and turnaround time versus quality dichotomy inherent in the background screening industry,” said Greg Dubecky, President of Corporate Screening. He added that buying decisions continue to be made based on quick turnaround time and inexpensive price and this case is the result of those decisions. While price and turnaround time are of significant importance to hiring managers, they need to be relative to quality and compliance. “When you peel back the onion that is the background screening industry you begin to realize that narrowly focused buying decisions result in contradiction to an employer’s original intent with background screening, mitigation of risk. You actually open your organization up to additional risk,” said Dubecky.

This suit also highlights the value in selecting an accredited, service oriented background screening firm as opposed to a mere data provider. With data providers, the onus is placed on the employer to validate, verify, analyze and interpret. This means more work for the employer and, as is evident, additional risk.

Questions? Visit, contact Corporate Screening Support at 800-229-8606 and select option 3, or contact your Account Representative.