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  1. #1
    xeroa is offline Junior Member
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    Incorrect information in pre-employment background check

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Illinois


    I posted a thread about this, but it was in the wrong spot, so I didn't get much help. I hope this is more of a correct spot.

    Original Post:

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Illinois

    I applied at a gas station, and was told I had the job pending a background check. 2 days later, they called and told me my background check came back no good, so I went to the store to talk to them. They said it came back with a Child Molestation charge, which is wrong, so I asked them to run it again. A couple days later they called again, and said it came back with the same results, but told me that the charge came from Indiana. I did some calling around, mostly being spun around by Illinois State Police, Indiana State Police, and Bureau of Identification, and eventually got another call from the gas station, where they told me the charge was from 1988. This made me laugh, because I was born in November of 1989.

    Because of Illinois law (requires a certain kind of fingerprint card to get your criminal history, and it costs money to get printed), and having no money, I haven't been able to get any further into this until now. My constant calling for the last 2 weeks have finally gotten a reply, and a copy of the background check that the gas station had done on me will be waiting for me at the gas station on thursday. From this, I should be able to determine who is at fault for the false information (Indiana police, or the company who did the background check, which is located in Indiana). What I want to know is what kind of legal action I could take against whoever is at fault.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can help, and if you need any more information I'll try to provide it, or find out.
    I now have a copy of the background check, so if any more information is needed, I can provide it (as long as it's there).
  2. #2
    cbg
    cbg is offline Senior Member
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    I'm sorry you didn't like my answer. What more do you think I should have told you?
  3. #3
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    I read cbg's response to your earlier thread, and her advice to you was as good as it gets. You probably do not have any legal action you can take over the errors that appeared on your background check report.

    What you DO have is a lot of work ahead of you in correcting the errors that appear.

    Because you have a copy of the background check report that contains the errors, you can contact the reporting agency directly. You have already taken a good first step by contacting the charging agency that handled the child molestation conviction that wound up by error on your report. I imagine it was not THEIR error that led to the conviction showing up on your report, however.

    Employers can do a "fingerprint" background check (which costs more money but tends to be accurate) or they can hire a data broker. Employers generally run a background check to verify a prospective employee's social security number, address history and employment history, and to check for a criminal history (federal, state, county), any civil records, driving offenses, and also to verify education history.

    Unfortunately, errors can appear in any of these. This can be due to a clerk mis-keying information, court errors, files not being updated, a person using your name or social security number (identity theft), a same-name confusion. . . there are many many ways wrong information can make its way onto your background report. In addition, those background check companies that rely on public record searches often do not verify information (the reports will actually say on them that errors may appear) and criminal histories of someone with the same name will often show up.

    Currently there are no standards to ensure that a report created by a data broker is accurate. It is left up to each individual who has a background check run to locate the errors and correct them. That is why it is smart to run your OWN background check on yourself, prior to applying for jobs, so you find and clear up discrepancies or, at least, so you can warn employers of the errors they will find and explain them. It can also be wise to have your own accurate "fingerprint" background check done, and provide it to prospective employers.

    Consumers HAVE sued data brokers in the past, over errors appearing on their background check reports that have resulted in a job loss for them, but these are expensive actions to pursue. You could consult with an attorney if you are interested in spending a lot of time and money in a similar action (that may or may not be a successful one for you). Have an attorney review the facts.
    Last edited by quincy; 02-08-2010 at 08:18 PM.
  4. #4
    xeroa is offline Junior Member
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    cbg, you didn't really explain anything to me. Thanks quincy for explaining it all for me.

    The fact that this offense is from 05/31/1988, and I wasn't born until 11/29/1989 isn't a factor at all?

    I have another question, about the company whos name is on the background check.

    On the upper left-hand corner it says "ADP Screening and Selection Services". Are they widely used in Illinois for background checks? And if they are, could they be held responsible for my elongated unemployment (despite hundreds of applications and dozens of interviews)?

    Thanks cbg and quincy, and sorry if I offended you cbg, I just needed everything explained to me
  5. #5
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    If the 5/31/1988 date for the child molestation conviction was included in your background report, your prospective employer should have been able to reason that, since you were born in 1989, the offense was not yours but included on the report in error. If the 1988 date was not included with the report, then it was a sloppy background check.

    ADP operates several different services in several different states under dozens of different names. If you visit the ADP website, you can see their disclosure statement which reads, in part, that while "every effort has been made to assure accuracy, ADP Screening and Selection Services cannot act as guarantor of the information's accuracy or completeness" and "final verification of an individual's identity and proper use of any information on this site is the user's responsibility."

    While disclaimers do not prevent lawsuits, they do help to mitigate any damages in the event of a lawsuit. A purchaser of ADP's services is being warned by the disclaimer that every report purchased through their service is subject to error and it is up to the consumer to verify the data on their own.

    The website also details ADP's legal terms and conditions, which include a "No Warranties" provision ("information and documents provided on this Site are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind..") and a liability clause ("under no circumstances shall ADP be liable for any damages suffered...").

    Again, like the disclaimer, the legal terms and conditions do not prevent a lawsuit from being filed, however a consumer would have a difficult time winning any lawsuit over errors that appear in an ADP background check, having been warned in advance that errors may appear. Just like a used car dealer would not be responsible for selling an "as is" car with no warranty, making the purchaser responsible for any car repairs that may be needed, ADP has shifted the responsibility of verifying all information to the consumer.

    Although lawsuits have been filed against data brokers in the past, and the FTC has investigated their operations and procedures, and legislation has been proposed in several states trying to remedy the problem of inaccuracies appearing on background checks that result in job losses (and this is not an uncommon problem), it remains the responsibility of the purchaser of a data brokers' service to verify data for accuracy. While an employer should not take adverse action against a prospective employee until the information on a background check is verified, in truth most employers would rather, especially if there are several qualified applicants for a position, skip verification and hire an applicant whose background check comes back "clean."

    The bottom line is that you probably have no legal action you can pursue against anyone over the errors that appeared on your background check. Arm yourself with an accurate background check, or be ready to explain the errors that may appear, when you apply for jobs.

    It is definitely maddening, but there is little, legally, you can do.
    Last edited by quincy; 02-09-2010 at 11:46 AM.

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