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.

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.

The Work Number's Employment Database May Contain Inaccurate Information Reported by Employer


San Diego, CA -- The Work Number provides authorized users usually within Human Resources departments with automated employment and income verification services of nearly 80 million employees of 1,000 participating employers. Problems brought to the attention of the PRC include allegations that job titles have been misreported, indicating that an employee had a lesser job title than indicated on their resume and inaccuracies specifically with Johnson & Johnson noting employee "termination" rather than separation.  Possible inaccurate records may affect the ability for employees noted in The Work Number records to gain employment with job prospects due to perceived inflated job titles and indications that a previous employee has been fired.

Prevent Identity Theft with Responsible Information-Handling Practices in the Workplace


Experts in identity theft report that an increasing number of cases can be traced back to dishonest employees in the workplace who obtain the sensitive personal information of employees and customers and disclose it to identity thieves. One of the keys to preventing identity theft, therefore, is to safeguard personal information within the workplace, whether it's a business, government agency, or nonprofit. Targets for identity thieves include SSNs, driver's license numbers, financial account numbers, PINs, passcodes, and dates of birth.

Letter to the FTC on Job Search Industry Privacy Concerns


We are writing to draw your attention to the challenges consumers face as they search for jobs in today's rapidly evolving, information-rich environment. Both online and off, the machinery of the information economy has created a high demand for large compilations of job seekers' names, email addresses, and resumes. Perversely, the demand for job seeker information does not correlate to the availability of jobs nor the demand for workers.

Big Brother and the Hiring Process (Kelly)


Perhaps, as the unemployment rate continues upward, it might be appropriate to focus on subjects less lofty than the economy or the administration's policy toward it. Let's instead examine job applications and the human-relations people who review them.

Looked for a job lately? If you have, you know that just to apply you must reveal:

Your social security number.

Your complete educational background, regardless of relevance to the position, as well as the location of each school.

Your complete work history, whether relevant to the position or not.

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