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Background Screening News & Legal Updates

At OPENonline, we notify you of the most recent background screening and investigative news with our timely news alerts, press releases, blog articles and legislative & compliance updates. If you are interested in submitting an article to appear on our website, please contact our marketing department.

July 29, 2014

FCRA Class Actions Slam Panera, AMC, Nine West For Improper Background ChecksA former employee of both Panera, LLC and American Multi-Cinema Inc. claims both companies are forcing potential employees to sign off on illegal background checks. In the complaint, Sarai Mack says that both Panera and AMC violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by requesting background checks on potential employees in applications filled with language not related to the background check itself. In a third case, shoe retailer Nine West Holdings Inc. was slapped with a putative class action that alleges the company conducts background checks on job applicants without proper disclosures – a clear violation of the FCRA.

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July 25, 2014

FCRA Compliance and Class Action Suits Making HeadlinesMany companies have been in the news lately for lawsuits alleging they violated the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in regards to background checks. The FCRA has strict guidelines that employers must follow when conducting consumer reports. We have compiled an overview of best practices as well as a list of the most recent headline-making class action suits for alleged FCRA violations.

A majority of companies facing an FCRA class action lawsuit are accused of illegally denying applicants employment based off information taken from background checks without giving the applicants opportunity to dispute the information. Before taking any adverse action against applicants, employers must follow these FCRA consumer report rules:

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July 25, 2014

All Montana School Bus Drivers Required to Pass Background CheckThe state of Montana now requires all school bus drivers to undergo and pass a background check before they can transport students to school. This comes after an audit found numerous current bus drivers had criminal backgrounds.

The Board of Public Education made the requirement after a 2011-2012 audit found 64 of the 1,500 bus drivers in Montana had criminal records including drunk driving.

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July 23, 2014

On July 19, 2014, Illinois became the fifth state to ban the question “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” from initial job applications.

As expected, on July 19, 2014, Illinois became the fifth state to ban the question “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” from initial job applications. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act which bans employers in both the private and public sector from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until an interview or conditional offer is made. The law takes effect starting January 1, 2015.

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July 15, 2014

Home Depot Faces Background Check LawsuitHome Depot faces a potential class action lawsuit brought on by applicant, Trent Henderson, who claims the company ran a background check without his knowledge and failed to provide him a copy of the report before taking adverse action.

The lead plaintiff alleges Home Depot denied him employment based off of information taken from a consumer report, but did not notify him of the report or provide a copy of it. The lawsuit claims this violates the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

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July 11, 2014

Portland City Job Applications Will No Longer Have Criminal History Section

The city of Portland already removed the box on job applications asking applicant to identify if they are a convicted criminal or have been incarcerated -- and now they’ve taken it one step further by also removing language saying the city may require a criminal records check. The new policy is part of the Ban the Box movement that states a prospective employee’s criminal record should not be known or considered until later in the hiring process.

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July 10, 2014

Aaron’s Inc. Faces Lawsuit for FCRA Background Check ViolationsAaron’s, Inc., a Georgia corporation, is facing a class action lawsuit for allegedly violating the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in regards to background checks. Daniel Antoine, the plaintiff in the case, claims the company failed to provide him with a copy of his FCRA rights and a copy of the consumer report before taking adverse action. Under FCRA rules, employers are required to provide applicants a copy of their FCRA rights and a copy of the background check before taking adverse action using information discovered in the background check.

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July 2, 2014

OPENonline Will Be Closed Thursday, July 4thIn observance of the Independence Day holiday, OPENonline will be closed Friday, July 4, 2014. We will return to normal operation on Monday, July 7, 2014 at 8 a.m. EST. Many government agencies will also be closed for the national holiday. Minor delays may occur for some search results.Please do not hesitate to contact us at 800.366.0106 should you have any questions regarding our upcoming holiday hours or your account. We appreciate your continued business and hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday!

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July 1, 2014

Tennessee Passes Online Privacy Act for Employees and Job ApplicantsState officials passed the Tennessee’s Employee Online Privacy Act on January 1, 2014 giving employees and job applicants protection from employers requiring them to disclose personal Internet accounts. The law takes effect on January 1, 2015. The act states an employer shall not:(1) Request or require an employee or an applicant to disclose a password that allows access to the employee’s or applicant’s personal Internet account; (2) Compel an employee or applicants to add the employer to a list of contacts for personal Internet accounts; (3) Compel an employee or applicant to show their contents of a personal Internet account; and (4) Take adverse action, fail to hire, or otherwise penalize an employee or applicant because of a failure to disclose information based off a personal Internet Account.

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June 27, 2014

Investigation Finds Dallas County Temporary Workers With Criminal Records

Dallas County officials are now doing an overhaul on their hiring procedures after The Dallas Morning News conducted an investigation and found numerous temporary workers with criminal histories. Some of the temp workers had been working with the county for years without anyone knowing about their criminal background.

The county has used several different temp agencies in the past. The investigation found that some contractor provided temps only had a name in the records to identify the workers. There were many other errors in the records used by the county auditors including misspelled names and incomplete data leading to officials not knowing how long the temps had worked for the county.

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