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Background Check Errors FAQs

Posted by on Monday, September 19th, 2016

When businesses are vetting a new or potential employee, it’s common for them to run a background check on the individual. This can sometimes be anxiety-producing, but it’s important to know that you have rights.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) protects applicants and employees from discrimination, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compels credit reporting agencies to make sure that the information they gather and distribute is a fair and accurate summary of an individual’s credit history.

Despite these protections, background check errors do happen and can affect your employment. To help you navigate this stressful situation, we’ve answered some of the most common background check error questions below.

Who performs background checks?

Companies often outsource background checks to consumer reporting agencies such as Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. These agencies gather information on an individual—frequently including their criminal background, education, employment history, address, and credit history—and provide them to the company.

Why do background check errors occur?

Because background check information is usually gathered manually, human error does occur. Consumer reporting agencies might misprint an important name, date, or address, which has an adverse effect on the report.

Which background check errors are most common?

Common background check problems include:
• Mixed files – criminal records belonging to someone with the same or similar name appearing on your report.
• Incorrect information – criminal record information being reported incorrectly, such as with incorrect disposition information (ex. “guilty” instead of “not guilty”) or incorrect severity (ex.    misdemeanors reported as felonies).
• Reporting of expunged or sealed charges – if a criminal record or conviction has been expunged or sealed, it should not be included on a background report.
• Misreported alternative dispositions – many states have diversion or other alternative disposition programs in which a conviction can be avoided if an individual meets certain standards over a period of time (ex. avoiding additional criminal charges for a year). Participation in these programs can sometimes be misreported as a conviction.
• Duplicate reporting – criminal records can be included on the same report multiple times, making a criminal record look longer than it actually is.
 

How do I report a background check error?

If you believe there has been an error on your background check report, contact the background check company and notify them of the error. By law, they have to investigate the error and make any corrections within 30 days of your complaint.

If the background check company refuses to make a correction or investigate your claim, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). While the FTC can’t correct your background check, it can investigate and sue the background check company if it finds evidence of wrongdoing.

If you believe a background check company is violating the FCRA by not addressing your complaint, contact one of our experienced employment law attorneys to assess your options and file a claim.

For much more information on your background check rights, visit our partner site, https://backgroundcheckrights.org/.

Automated Background Checks and the On-Demand Economy

Posted by on Thursday, August 18th, 2016

How the new age of non-human background screening services by companies like Checkr have hampered employment opportunities at UBER

Companies that operate on-demand services, such as Uber or Lyft, have exploded in the past few years, and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people have applied to work for these companies. While on-demand companies seek to “disrupt” certain marketplaces, background checks are one area where on-demand companies are just like traditional employers.

Like many traditional companies, most on-demand companies run criminal background on potential workers. For example, Uber obtains background checks on all of its potential drivers and orders the background checks from consumer reporting agencies like Hirease (which is now owned by Accurate Background) or Checkr, Inc.

Uber background check consent and criteria

Although these companies tend to classify their workers as independent contractors, rather than employees, the Federal Trade Commission has opined that companies that hire independent contractors are subject the same provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act as companies that hire employees.

Thus, companies like Uber are subject to the same disclosure and authorization provisions that apply to traditional employers. In practical terms, what does that mean? It means before it runs a background check on a potential driver, Uber must provide a disclosure that a background check is going to be run and obtain the driver’s authorization or consent to procure the background check.

Uber background check wait time

While some background checks are near-instantaneous, the wait time for other background report can be a couple days or even weeks in some instances. In a few cases, this has greatly delayed employment start time as potential driver candidates sit in limbo. In more extreme situations, a seemingly random background check is conducted well after the driver has been employed, and this has caused their termination.

If the driver fails Uber’s background check according to Uber’s background check criteria, Uber is required to give the driver a copy of the report and a reasonable time to contest or explain the results of the background check.

What happens if I failed my Checkr / Uber background check due to an error?

Keep the copy of your background report and any communication you received from Checkr (typically emails). Then use the contact form directly below to start your free evaluation with one of our background check lawyers. We may be able to fix the errors on your background report so there are no future conflicts, and possibly get you compensation for any loss.

To receive a free evaluation of your Uber background report from one of our employment attorneys, please use this contact form:

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Federal Government Investigating Soaring Pharmacy Reimbursement Claims in Military

Posted by on Friday, November 13th, 2015

Several pharmacies are facing an in-depth investigation into their billing practices with regard to military TRICARE enrollees. | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Several pharmacies are facing an in-depth investigation into their billing practices with regard to military TRICARE enrollees. | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to a startling article published in the Wall Street Journal, several compounding pharmacies are facing possible liability under the False Claims Act for illegal billing practices surrounding customers enrolled in coverage through the military’s TRICARE healthcare insurance program. Described by investigators as “widespread fraud,” the investigation spans across at least four states and involves dozens of pharmacies believed to be engaging in double-billing and other fraudulent practices.

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What is Commodities Future Trading? 4 Things You Should Know About Commodity Futures and Fraud

Posted by on Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Commodities trading fraud involves scams surrounding the trading of raw goods, including cattle, grain, or oil. | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Commodities future trading fraud involves scams surrounding the trading of raw goods, including cattle, grain, or oil. | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Of the various whistleblower programs in place to date, probably the least well-known is that involving the trade of commodities and futures – an industry regulated by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. This area of trading can be highly unpredictable, and often the savviest investors are hesitant to take on the risk associated with trading based on prices not yet known. This area is also highly prone to scam and fraud, which prompted the CFTC to organize its own whistleblower program designed to help curtail and deter the occurrence of costly fraud within this niche industry. The following answers some of the most commonly-asked questions regarding commodities futures trading fraud, as well as offers advice to anyone with knowledge or suspicions of fraud within this financial sect.

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US Software Firms Pay $13 Million to Settle Claims of Unlawful Employment of Russians

Posted by on Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

The US Department of Defense recently settled a False Claims Act case involving contract fraud and unlawful employment practices. | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The US Department of Defense recently settled a False Claims Act case involving contract fraud and unlawful employment practices. | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Entering into a contract with the US Department of Defense naturally necessitates confidentiality, discretion, and, in some cases, top-level security clearances. Accordingly, government contracts generally contain clauses relating to employment practices the contractor must follow in order to protect national security and ensure that all workers on the project are qualified for the job. If a contractor fails to adhere to the requisite employment and labor practices set forth in the contract, it could find itself facing significant liability under the False Claims Act. In the context of government contract, the act applies to each and every instance in which an invoice or reimbursement claim is submitted for work that was performed in violation of the terms of the agreement.

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Defense Contractor Alleged to Have Overcharged Military for Fruits & Vegetables

Posted by on Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Coast Product Company settles allegations it overcharged the military for fresh produce deliveries. | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Coast Product Company settles allegations it overcharged the military for fresh produce deliveries. | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Los Angeles-based Coast Produce Company recently found itself in a real pickle amid allegations that it grossly overcharged the U.S. military for the delivery and provision of fresh fruits and vegetables. According to a recent press release, the defense contractor agreed to settle the allegations for $4 million and entered into a corporate integrity agreement to help that ensure taxpayers are not defrauded in the future.

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Justice Department Settles With Hundreds of Hospitals Amid Healthcare Fraud Claims

Posted by on Monday, November 9th, 2015

The Department of Justice recently settled with 457 hospitals across the United States involving claims of unlawful billing for implantable cardiac defibrillators. | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Department of Justice recently settled with 457 hospitals across the United States involving claims of unlawful billing for implantable cardiac defibrillators. | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

In today’s case, we review one of the largest False Claims Act settlements in terms of sheer breadth, number of defendants, and number of healthcare fraud claims. The settlement, which involved 457 hospitals and healthcare facilities across the United States, resulted in a $250 million payout to the government, and sent an unequivocal message to the rest of the medical community – follow the guidelines or face certain liability.

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Maine Dermatology Settles Medicare Fraud Allegations for Over $600,000

Posted by on Friday, November 6th, 2015

A Portland-area dermatology clinic has settled allegations that it defrauded Medicare out of nearly $400,000 through fraudulent billing practices. | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

A Portland-area dermatology clinic has settled allegations that it defrauded Medicare out of nearly $400,000 through fraudulent billing practices. | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

With a current caseload of over 50 million enrollees, and as one of the prime programs targeted for fraud nationally, the Medicare program has a lot on its plate. In today’s case, we review a recent Medicare settlement between the federal government, the state government of Maine, and a Portland-area dermatology clinic accused of bilking the government out of hundreds of thousands of dollars through intentionally fraudulent billing practices.

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South Dakota Loggers Settle False Claims Act Allegations of Illegal Employment Practices

Posted by on Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Two South Dakota forestry contractors have agreed to settle claims each wrongfully employed undocumented workers under a government contract. | Image Source: Source: Flickr User dok1

Two South Dakota forestry contractors have agreed to settle claims each wrongfully employed undocumented workers under a government contract. | Image Source: Source: Flickr User dok1

In one of the few False Claims Act cases to come out of South Dakota, two contractors related to the logging industry have agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle claims that they violated the terms of their agreement with the U.S. Forest Service and billed for the work nonetheless.

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Zimmer BioMet Sued for $10 Million Under False Claims Act

Posted by on Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

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A former sales representative for BioMet has launched a whistleblower lawsuit alleging wrongful retaliation and illegal kickbacks over its dental implant products. | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

In a recent lawsuit filed under the state of New York’s False Claims Act, a former sales representative for BioMet, which has since merged with Zimmer Holdings, has alleged the company engaged in illegal and unlawful practices when touting its dental implant products. More specifically, the whistleblower’s complaint asserts that the company offered lucrative financial incentives and gifts to physicians willing to recommend and utilize the BioMet devices. This practice is illegal under the False Claims Act in situations involving Medicare and Medicaid patients, as practitioners are to offer unbiased medical advice that is not tied to an expectation of financial gain.

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