Are You at Risk for a Lawsuit?

  • By Brittany Guyton
  • 20 Nov, 2015

If you’re an employer requiring background checks then the answer is likely, yes. Class action lawsuits against employers due to improper background screenings are increasing rapidly.

 

These cases generally fall under a law that controls the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and in most cases, can be easily avoided. Typically the alleged violations are minor technicalities. Employers usually conduct these screenings under a good faith belief that they are following the law. However, without competent legal counsel or other expert review of practices and policies, it is inevitable that violations will occur.

 

Damages can range from $100 to 1,000 per violation, even if the plaintiff is not harmed. Many employers have settled cases for millions of dollars despite believing they did nothing wrong!

 

To avoid potentially costly litigation employers should re-examine their background check disclosure forms to ensure compliance with the FCRA, the federal law that governs background checks for employment.

 

One of the easiest ways to prevent threats is to utilize a quality background screening firm that focuses on educating clients and provides accurate actionable information.

 

Contact Courthouse Concepts to ensure you’re in compliance with the FCRA: (479) 316-2606.

 

Top Reasons Why Employers Should Review Their Practices:

 

1.    Employer failed to obtain written authorization from the applicant before obtaining the consumer report.

 

The FCRA requires that the employer receive written consent from the       prospective employee before conducting a background screening

 

2.    Employer failed to provide a document consisting solely of the stand-alone disclosure.

 

The FCRA requires the employer to disclose to the applicant that a background screening may be obtained in a written disclosure and “in a document that consists solely of the disclosure.”

 

3.    The disclosure contained a release of liability.

 

Many cases argue that such a release violates the FCRA.

 

4.    Failure to provide the applicant with a copy of the consumer report and pre-adverse action notices before taking action.

 

Some cases involve allegations that employers have failed to provide the applicant with a copy of the consumer report, and summary of their rights under the FCRA.

 

5.    Failure to provide a post-adverse action notice.

 

The FCRA requires employers to provide the applicant with a post-adverse action notice after the employer takes adverse action to communicate several required notification components.

 

6.    Failure to update forms.

 

This is easily avoidable yet there have been many cases in which applicants have sued their employers had not updated their forms pursuant to the FCRA.

 

7.    The employer’s screening policy disqualified applicants based on criminal history that is unrelated to the job.

 

Employers can also be sued for subjecting their applicants to an overly broad and unduly harsh criminal background check.

 

8.    Failure to follow state specific requirements.

 

States have passed legislation that impacts the hiring process in specific jurisdictions.

 


The CHC Blog

By Mark Ridgeway 13 Oct, 2017
As of April 2017, there are 29 states that allow marijuana use for medical purposes. There is considerable variation in medical cannabis laws from state to state, including how it is produced and distributed, how it can be consumed and what medical conditions it can be used for.

At the federal level, cannabis is still a prohibited substance. However in 2014, the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment  was signed into law, prohibiting the Justice Department from spending funds to interfere with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.

The following excerpt from a   Society for Human Resource Management  article gives a general overview of how medical marijuana impacts employers and the issues that need to be considered if you are in one of the 29 states:
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