The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) is pressing the Federal Trade Commission to open an investigation into employer compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) restrictions on employment background checks of criminal records. The CDT, Teamsters Union and employee rights organizations prepared an informative petition with claims of incomplete notification and disclosure by employers in the rail transportation industry, instructive for companies taking adverse actions against employees. The consumer reports were drawn from Acxiom data – apparently not independently verified – which turned up false positives, leading to the employees being dismissed.
Petitioners also ask the Commission to examine the current practices regarding the
consent and notice provided to subjects of background checks. Individual employers,
including small business without legal teams or the knowledge to properly implement
the requirements of the FCRA, are conducting credit and criminal background checks in increasingly large numbers. In order to ensure that consumers’ rights as laid out in the FCRA are maintained, the FTC should, at the least, seek to promulgate best
practices for the obtaining of consent and the notification of adverse decisions.