Employee dismissed because of faulty background check

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a Federal class action lawsuit in Maryland against two Staffing Agencies, Aerotek, Inc. and Allegis Group, Inc. alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). According to the lawsuit, an employee was fired without providing him with advance notice and an opportunity to dispute certain criminal history reported in a background screening report.

Employers cannot take adverse action based on information contained in a consumer investigative report without first providing the applicant or employee with a notice of its intension to take the adverse action and giving the applicant the opportunity to contest the information contained in the report.

The lawsuit states that the employee was notified that he was ineligible to continue working as a result of the crimes listed in his investigative report. The employee subsequently proved that he had never been arrested or convicted of any crime and the Consumer Reporting Agency that produced the report agreed and corrected the report.

Violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) can include damages ranging from $100 to $1,000 per violation, actual damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and costs of court.

Staffing agencies should be aware of all the provisions of the FCRA and deal with a Background Screening Company that completes an accurate consumer investigative report that does not contain erroneous information or a report that contains convictions that have been expunged.