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Judge allows class-action suit against background screening company to proceed

A federal judge certified a class of job applicants who claim a third-party background screening firm violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act by unlawfully including obsolete criminal history information in their consumer reports.

The lead plaintiff in the case claims that the background screening firm produced a consumer report containing records of arrest, charges or indictments that did not result in a conviction and were older than seven years, in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1681c(a)(2). As a result of the background screening company’s misdoings, the plaintiff claims he was ultimately denied a job.

As a whole, the proposed class consists of roughly 4,500 class members who had consumer reports procured on them for nine different companies through the third-party background screening company from June 2013 through February 2014 that included the stale arrest records.

In the decision to certify the class, the judge ruled that the alleged harm suffered by the applicant’s met the necessary requirements outlined in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Spokeo vs. Robins decision.

"Here, Congress decided to restrict access to information regarding arrests older than seven years, which bestowed a degree of privacy on that information," the judge wrote in the order to certify the class. "Despite those restrictions, [the background screening company] published plaintiff's stale arrests. [The background screening company] thereby sent restricted information about plaintiff into the world and as such caused injury to plaintiff’s privacy interest."

Source: Law360.com, 7/27/2016

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