Last month, a class action lawsuit was brought against the world’s largest web based professional network. The suit alleges that the network violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by allowing a search for references feature that give employers the opportunity to ascertain information about job applicants.
Four plaintiffs who believe their rights under the FCRA have been violated by the networking site filed the class action lawsuit. They allege that due to the ability of employers to search for references on the website adversely affected their employment when prospective employers made decisions based on the information found in this reference research system.
The “Search for References” link on the website allows employers to obtain a report of people that may have worked with the individual in question. They can then view the profiles of the references and send them a message through the online messaging system, inquiring about the applicant. The issue is that the individuals are not notified when these reference inquiries are conducted. This allows employers to delve into information that may or may not be accurate, or ascertained from people that may not have had full knowledge of the applicants work and personal history. The class action lawsuit further states that an employer can make decisions about hiring or firing an employee based on the information gathered without any safeguards in place to verify the accuracy of the information received.
This class action lawsuit states that this practice is not in compliance with the FCRA, and as such is not in compliance with the regulations in place for Consumer Reporting Agencies regarding information accuracy, relevance and confidentiality. These regulations are in place to protect consumer’s rights, and to ensure that all information discovered through a background check process is valid and reliable information.
For more on this class action lawsuit, please click here.