Background Check Lawsuits Continue to Grow

A background check is a small, but integral part of any hiring process.  It is in this process, however, that thousands of lawsuits continue to be churned out annually.  The reason for this is that there are certain rules that must be followed per the FCRA, and if these are not followed, then the door is left open for possible litigation.  Some potential violations are small and are actively sought out by lawyers while some are large, noticeable and easily brought forward.

Recently, two major restaurant chains have been met with lawsuits over their background check process.  In one instance, the applicant is claiming that the restaurant broke three FCRA guidelines. The three areas being looked into are the claims that the employer did not, A) provide a statement notifying the applicant that a background check was going to be conducted; B) the employer did not provide a Pre-Adverse Action notification, which would have let the applicant know that they did not intend to hire him based on the findings, and would have given the applicant a chance to correct any possible inaccuracies; and C) the employer did not provide an Adverse Action letter, which would have notified the applicant that they were denying employment based on the background check.

In the second instance, an applicant claims that the restaurant he applied for did not provide the background check disclosure as a separate and conspicuous document, but rather buried it in the application with other documents.

Both of these instances represent potential violations of the FCRA, and if they are found to be in violation, they could be liable for thousands of dollars in damages.  These are, however, easily avoidable violations.  In larger organizations with skilled HR professionals, these types of violations should be easily avoidable. Earlier this year, Fortune Magazine noted that these are simply small technicalities in the hiring process. These small technicalities are what people are going after, and it is of the utmost importance for HR executives to be clear on even the smallest details of the hiring process to ensure that this sort of thing does not continue to happen.