More reason to think twice about pre-employment criminal background checks: How sure can you be that the info you get is accurate?
That question arises on the heels of a $2.6 million settlement agreed to by HireRight Solutions, which had been charged by the federal Fair Trade Commission with failing to take the proper steps to ensure the reports it provided to employer/clients was accurate.
In a formal complaint, the FTC describes HireRight as a “consumer reporting agency” that provides background information about prospective and current employees to help employers make decisions about hiring and other employment-related issues.
The FTC alleged that the company violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act when it failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that the information in its reports was current and reflected updates, such as the expungement of criminal records.
Handling of consumer complaints questioned
Because of these oversights, the FTC charged, employers sometimes received information that incorrectly listed criminal convictions on individuals’ records.
In addition, the FTC said HireRight allowed the same criminal offense information to be included in a consumer report multiple times, failed to follow reasonable procedures to prevent obviously inaccurate consumer report information from being provided to employers, and in numerous cases even included the wrong person’s records.
FTC officials also claimed the company dragged its feet on investigating disputed items on individual records, and then failed to notify the complaining individual when an investigation was completed.
The bottom line: These inaccurate reports kept otherwise qualified candidates from getting jobs, the FTC said.
Although it did not admit to any wrongdoing, the company agreed to fork over a $2.6 million civil penalty and fully comply with federal reporting regs going forward.
As you’re aware, the EEOC recently handed down some guidance on how it would handle complaints about the use of criminal background checks. The HireRight case highlights anew how touchy this issue could become for employers.