Considering Background Check Companies: Errors and Lawsuits

About 95 percent of all hiring employers conduct background checks in some form on applicants. As you’re aware, these screenings vary in scope, from local criminal history investigations to through research into an individual’s employment and educational history. Yet, while businesses depend on such companies to provide inside information about a candidate, how accurate are such reports, and what can an employer do to make sure the background check company is offering full and accurate records?

A consumer watchdog piece in The Morning Call directs attention to these errors – some so serious that poor reporting has caused otherwise-good candidates employment. A report from the National Consumer Law Center cited in the article shows that such errors are common. These mistakes, varying in severity, range from mixed up records for individuals with similar but not identical names; not including important information for a candidate, or revealing criminal history that has been sealed or expunged; not listing accurate facts for a candidate, and erroneously listing criminal offenses.

The author the piece, then, tells candidates that, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, they have the right to access information being used against him or her. From here, the candidate can challenge the background check company’s claims; if the incorrect information is, indeed, inaccurate, then it must be removed from such records within 30 days.

While background check companies investigate candidates, companies must look up the histories of such screening services. Lawsuits over inaccurate information from candidates are a significant red flag. If a background check service has not provided accurate history for one individual, how can you, as a company, be sure they won’t do the same for your applicant pool? Along with lawsuits, screen background check companies for their own service offerings and records of success.