Lawsuit Claims Inaccurate Background Check Violated Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)


Lawsuit Claims Inaccurate Background Check Violated Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

A proposed class action lawsuit filed in the United States District Court, District of Connecticut claims a background screening firm allegedly violated the accuracy requirements of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by inaccurately reporting that a Connecticut job seeker was a convicted drug dealer and thereby costing him newly offered employment.

Filed on May 10, 2023, the complaint alleges that the background screening firm failed to “follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy” which is required by FCRA 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b). Enacted by Congress in 1970, the FCRA protects consumers from the willful and/or negligent inclusion of inaccurate information in their background checks.

The Plaintiff applied for a job as a part-time patient coordinator at a Connecticut dental practice in August 2022 and was offered the job contingent on a successful background check, which subsequently reported the Plaintiff had four criminal convictions, including a felony conviction for possession with intent to sell/dispense, according to the complaint.

Along with conducting the background check on the Plaintiff using its own proprietary software, the complaint claims the background screening firm hired a third-party vendor to check the criminal records at a county court and the vendor erroneously reported that the Plaintiff had a criminal record that belonged to a different individual with the same name.

In addition, the complaint alleges this third-party vendor “erroneously reported that the date of birth associated with the four (4) convictions matched the Plainitff’s date of birth” and that the Defendant background screening firm “failed to take additional steps to investigate” whether the Plaintiff and the person with the serious criminal record were the same people.

The complaint is being proposed as a class action lawsuit representing qualifying members that could potentially result in hundreds of thousands of individuals within the class definition. “Under the FCRA, Defendant should be held liable for statutory damages in the amount of $1,000 per class member, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs,” the complaint stated.

ClearStar is a leading global Human Resources technology company specializing in background checks, drug testing, and occupational health screening. ClearStar offers employers compliance and security that includes an understanding of the FCRA and other laws regulating workforce screening in the United States. To learn more about ClearStar, contact us.

NOTE: ClearStar reminds readers that allegations made in class action lawsuits are not proof a business or individual violated any law, rule, or regulation since they are in the pleading stage with no factual adjudications yet.

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    Thomas Ahearn - Digital Content Editor

    Thomas Ahearn is a Digital Content Editor at ClearStar, a leading Human Resources (HR) technology company specializing in background checks, drug testing, and occupational health screening. He writes about a variety of topics in the background screening industry including Artificial Intelligence (AI), "Ban the Box," class action lawsuits, credit reports, criminal records, drug testing, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Form I-9, identity theft, privacy, social media screening, and workplace violence.

    At ClearStar, we are committed to your success. An important part of your employment screening program involves compliance with various laws and regulations, which is why we are providing information regarding screening requirements in certain countries, region, etc. While we are happy to provide you with this information, it is your responsibility to comply with applicable laws and to understand how such information pertains to your employment screening program. The foregoing information is not offered as legal advice but is instead offered for informational purposes. ClearStar is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice and this communication does not form an attorney client relationship. The foregoing information is therefore not intended as a substitute for the legal advice of a lawyer knowledgeable of the user’s individual circumstances or to provide legal advice. ClearStar makes no assurances regarding the accuracy, completeness, or utility of the information contained in this publication. Legislative, regulatory and case law developments regularly impact on general research and this area is evolving rapidly. ClearStar expressly disclaim any warranties or responsibility or damages associated with or arising out of the information provided herein.


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