This Labor Day, PRC Urges Jobseekers to Know Their Rights


As the nation celebrates the achievements of American workers this Labor Day weekend, it’s hard to ignore the 13.9 million people who remain unemployed. Millions of Americans are searching for work, and have been for months. The weak job market means employers are being flooded with candidates. 

To weed out candidates, employers often turn to background checks.  In a poll conducted by The Society for Human Resource Management, 73% of employersreported conducting criminal background checks on all job candidates. There are many companies specializing in employment screening and each uses its own method to gather background data. Unfortunately, many consumers have contacted us to report that they were the subject of a background check containing inaccurate data.  It’s important for job seekers to be aware of their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a law that regulates the consumer reporting industry.

Online Reputation Management - What Every Jobseeker Should Know


In today’s digital world, false or unflattering information attached to your name could haunt you for years.  For jobseekers competing in a tough economy, an unprofessional online presence could be a hindrance to landing a good job.  More employers are using the Internet to learn about job candidates, with a recent Microsoft survey showing that 70% of hiring managers have rejected a job applicant because of information posted online. 

Some jobseekers are turning to Online Reputation Management (ORM) firms to help them improve their digital personas.  Before you pay for an ORM service, be aware that ORM firms do not have the ability to remove unflattering information from the Internet any more than you do. If you are willing to invest the time, you can manage your own online reputation at little or no cost.

Errors in Employment Background Checks: Harmful Long-Term Consequences for Individuals


It is clear to the PRC that the problems of flawed background checks is not new to the FTC. It is also our belief that this is a critical area of consumer protection that deserves the increased attention of the FTC. Our analysis of FTC data uncovered numerous instances of complaints against the same company for reporting inaccurate data, often concerning criminal activities; failure to follow FCRA requirements for limiting information reported; and difficulty in getting the misinformation corrected.

Specialty Reports: What Have They Got on Me?


Most consumers know of their right to free annual credit reports from the three national credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). But did you know that the same federal law that lets you see your credit reports entitles you to much more?he Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to free copies of numerous so-called specialty consumer reports. These specialty reports provide information on such matters as your medical conditions, insurance claims, check writing history, rental history, and employment history.

An Increase in Employee Background Checks Strains an Already Weak (Flint)


Two easily identifiable problems with the increased use of background checks are the potential for errors and past mistakes haunting people for far too long.  But, in addition to these problems, there are societal concerns about lack of privacy, ceding judgment to a computer database, and potential over-reliance on a person’s past behavior.

Comments to the FTC on Accuracy in Background Checks and Insurance Reports


The FTC should separately undertake a review of inaccuracies in employment reports and insurance claims reports.  From our experience, job applicants and employees encounter significant problems when an erroneous criminal history is reported to an employer. Local, state and federal court records are public records that are available to anyone and are not compiled for the purpose of furnishing data to consumer reporting agencies.

The Tradeoff between Privacy and Openness in Employment Screening


We have heard from several individuals who have described their experiences with background checks that retrieve wrongful criminal records. Even after they have informed the employer that the background report is in error, they've learned that it's too late. The employer has moved on to another applicant, or perhaps is so risk-averse that the employer does not want the hassle of dealing with someone with a tarnished record, even though it's erroneous.

Groups Warn of Privacy Risks in Employment Screening


The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and PrivacyActivism submitted comments to the US Attorney General expressing concern about commercial data vendors and private employers' use of federal criminal records files for employment purposes. The comments were submitted at the request of the US Attorney General who is seeking recommendations for a report being prepared for Congress. The report to Congress is required by a 2004 law for Intelligence Reform.

Groups Warn of Privacy Risks in Employment Screening


Terrorist threats, workplace violence, and reported abuse of vulnerable segments of the population have contributed to a dramatic increase in criminal records checks. Advances in technology have also made criminal history checks faster, less expensive, and easy to obtain from a variety of sources.

Existing problems in the employment screening process - particularly with accuracy - can lead to chronic unemployment or dismissal from a longstanding job. The job applicant or employee has virtually no rights to have an adverse decision reconsidered, even when decisions are based on inaccurate information. Any standards for access by private employers and commercial data vendors must go beyond the current requirements of the FCRA.

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