A story hit the news last week about Samuel Jackson – a man who is suing his former employer and their background screening company due to an incorrect background check.
Mr. Jackson thought his job offer from Optics Planet was a done deal - but then a routine background check gone awry surprised the company and Jackson with a detail even he didn’t know: his name appeared on national list of registered sex offenders.
Jackson, 27, alleges in a suit filed in U.S. district court last week that the consumer reporting agency that ran his background check, Infotrack Information Services, carelessly mixed him up with people who shared his name and might have cost him and countless others potential jobs. “It’s alarming if you think about it because you wonder how many common names go through this,” Jackson told ABC News. The MYB blog posted a story back in February about a similar situation – one with similar consequences too.
Sharon Dietrich, an attorney with Community Legal Resources of Philadelphia, said the answer is many, many people with common names go through similar battles with background check companies to get their names cleared. “We see lots and lots of examples of background checks done wrong,” said Dietrich, who noted that more than 80 percent of companies now use background checks to screen potential employees. “And for some people, that can mean the difference between working and not working.”
When so much hinges on a decision like this, it really is imperative that a background screening company does it’s utmost to verify results. Although errors are inevitable, you can certainly do a lot to minimize them. In this case, a simple check of date or birth or social security would have showed that Mr. Jackson, a white male in his twenties, was not a black male in his fifties who had been convicted of sex crimes in states where Jackson has never lived.
Mind Your Business will do our best to verify all results, leaving you as an employer safe in the knowledge that such cases of mistaken identity are minimal. The cost of a proper background check would have been much less than the costs of litigation, compensation and damages that Infotrack Information Services will now have to pay out – and this is a situation could very easily have been avoided.
Be safe and be prepared by running a thorough background check with a screening company that doesn’t cut corners – get in touch with MYB to find out how we can protect your business.