Amazon may want to double-check its job fair hiring procedures after two people have come forward claiming they were unfairly eliminated as applicants after erroneous background checks.

And they better do it quickly if they want to hire this many people for the holiday season.

Non-disclosure Could Cost You

The online mega-retailer now finds itself the subject of two separate class action lawsuits, both stemming from allegations it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The first cast, filed in Tampa, Florida, is the result of Amazon’s behavior following a job fair. The applicant claims he filled out an application at a job fair, visited a month later, and then found out he didn’t get the job because of information contained in a background check. 

The plaintiff/applicant makes several claims:

  1. Amazon checked the applicant’s credit report without his permission
  2. Amazon didn’t disclose the results to the applicant and let him explain the information
  3. Amazon didn’t hire the applicant based on the results

As Courthouse News Service reports, “Plaintiff was given no pre-adverse notice whatsoever of the information contained in the consumer report upon which defendant based its decision. Defendant did not provide plaintiff with a copy of the consumer report that it relied upon prior to defendant’s adverse employment action. As a result, in violation of the FCRA, plaintiff was deprived of any opportunity to review the information in the report and discuss it with defendant before he was denied employment.”

A second lawsuit sounds similar. An applicant claims he was initially offered a job at Amazon, only to have it withdrawn after faulty information was reported in a background check. The lawsuit says that Amazon violated FCRA by not giving him a copy of his background report and allowing him to correct the erroneous information.

Know Your Rights

Both of these situations fall under the FCRA processes of Adverse Action and Pre-Adverse Action.

If employer plans to take any adverse action based in whole or in part upon results obtained from a consumer report, the FCRA requires the employer to provide specific notifications to the applicant or employee.

An “adverse action” is either a denial of employment or any other decision that adversely affects any current or prospective employee.Before you tell the candidate you’re not hiring them based on information collected in the background check (in itself, called Adverse Action), you must give the applicant:

• A pre-adverse action notice that includes a copy of the background check you used to make your determination

• A copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.” Your screening agency should supply you with this.

When the employer takes adverse action, they must then provide the applicant or employee with the following information:

  • Name, address, and telephone number of the consumer reporting agency issuing the report
  • Statement that the consumer reporting agency was not the decision maker and can not explain why the adverse decision was made
  • Statement regarding the applicant or employee’s right to obtain a free disclosure of the report from the agency if the applicant or employee requests the report within 60 days of notice of the adverse action
  • Statement regarding the applicant or employee’s right to dispute directly with the consumer reporting agency the accuracy or completeness of any information provided by the agency.

A reliable background screening company will provide you with compliance expertise necessary to meet all demands. They will also keep you informed on the constantly evolving regulations changes.

Active Screening has developed several software platforms that take the worry out of FCRA compliance for you. We have written the majority of forms and notices you’ll need during the hiring process and integrated them into our ACTivate platform so the screening process is streamlined and in full compliance with Federal law.

You can also find templates of our compliance notices here on our website.

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