Amazon violates Federal Law with employee background checks
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). When he applied for a job with Amazon as a “puller” at one of the online retailer’s distribution centers in November 2013, Williams also filled out a form giving SMX the authority “to obtain his consumer report for employment purposes.” That form stated that if anything is found in the background check that could affect his employment that he would be given a copy as well as an explanation of his rights under the FCRA. It also stated that the information can be disputed if the applicant deems that it is inaccurate. According to the lawsuit, Williams interviewed for the job on Nov. 30, 2013 and was offered the job almost immediately. He came in on Dec. 2, 2013 for a second in-person interview and orientation, when he was told the job would start on Dec. 5, 2013. In the meantime, SMX performed a background check through Sterling, a company that handles such consumer reports for other companies. On about Dec. 3, 2013, it was learned that Williams had “two criminal convictions — an old open container misdemeanor . . . and a felony conviction for cocaine possession, which did not belong to plaintiff.” The results of the background check, the class action lawsuit explains, “disqualified Mr. Williams from employment at Amazon.” As a result, “Williams lost the job.” Shortly after, Williams was told that Amazon could not hire him because of what was found in the background check because it “contained a felony.” However, “Williams informed SMX that the background check, which he had not yet received a copy of, must have contained inaccurate information because he did not have any such criminal record, and was recently cleared to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon, so there must have been a mistake.” Under the FCRA, any organization using a consumer report who intends to take an ‘adverse action’ on a job application based on information obtained from the consumer report must provide notice of that fact to the consumer-applicant, and must include with the notice a copy of the consumer report and a notice of the consumer’s dispute rights under the FCRA, before taking the adverse action. This is yet another reminder of how critical it is to get your hiring procedures right. Don’t cut corners, and make sure you trust completely those performing the background check.]]>
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