The Risks Behind Conducting Background Checks

Employers are increasingly facing lawsuits over how they handle background checks while screening job applicants. For a lesson in what can happen, take the recent class-action lawsuit filed against a Whole Foods Market Inc. store in Fresno, California. The suit alleges that the store's online form asking for job applicants' approval for criminal background checks violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The lawsuit seeks damages of up to $1,000 for each individual from whom Whole Foods obtained a consumer report without valid authorization, plus punitive damages and costs. Whole Foods has used the application form in question since January 2009,…

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