The following article provides a perfect example of why background screening companies MUST perform quality assurance on any and all criminal records received from public sources. Mr. Kenneth Schustereit was convicted of a misdemeanor theft charge in 1974.
In 2004, Mr. Schustereit applied for employment with Home Depot. Home Depot then requested a background check on Mr. Schustereit; based on the results, Mr. Schustereit was not offered employment. Mr. Schustereit inquired into what the background check had revealed. It turns out that the background screening provider reported that Mr. Schustereit was convicted of a felony in 1974 (in actuality it was a misdemeanor).
Even more troubling: the background screening company reported that he served seven years in prison (when he actually served 51 days in county jail). Needless to say, one can only imagine how many other employers rejected Mr. Schustereit, disqualifying him based on his distant criminal past.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) specifically stipulates that only criminal convictions that occurred within the last 7 years are reportable on employment background checks (however, California, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Texas, and Washington, do allow reporting of convictions that occurred up to 10 years ago, based on pay grades associated with certain positions).
Obviously, Mr. Schustereit’s misdemeanor conviction shouldn’t have even been reported due to the length of time that has passed since the disposition date (1974). In addition, the fact that the background screening provider erroneously reported the record as a felony instead of a misdemeanor further calls for stringent adherence to the FCRA’s guidelines!