A trucking company has settled in a class action law suit claiming they violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Vitran Express Inc. agreed on Tuesday to pay $2.6 million to settle the lawsuit, which claimed Vitran didn’t disclose to job applicants that criminal background checks were going to be conducted on them.
Employers are required under the FCRA to disclose to job applicants that background checks will be performed to determine suitability for the company. Additionally, employers must receive written consent from the subject of the report authorizing them to run the background check. Although Vitran did not admit wrongdoing in agreeing with the settlement, they did admit “that a portion of its job applicants may not have been aware that a criminal background report or other consumer report would be procured by Vitran for employment purposes.”
One of the plaintiffs, Thomas Hall, claimed that Vitran ordered a criminal background check through the company’s background screening vendor, USIS Commercial Services, without his signed consent. USIS reported on their background check that Mr. Hall had 27 felony convictions for crimes related to moral turpitude. In actuality, the cases didn’t even belong to Thomas Hall, but did belong to a person with the same exact name (first last, and middle initial), and date of birth. Vitran decided not to offer employment to Mr. Hall based on the results of the background check, but did not disclose this to Mr. Hall—thereby violating the FCRA by not administering the pre-adverse/adverse action process. Instead, he was informed by the background screening company that he wouldn’t be offered the job.
Employers must ensure they are abiding by every law set forth in the FCRA. If not, they could be held liable in court.