For the New Year: Are Your Forms Up to Date?

[Phone rings]

Ann: “Cutting Edge, this is Ann.”

Customer: “You keep yammering on about the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and how everything needs to compliant. And how my forms need to be up-to-date. My background screener is compliant, it says so on their website.”

Ann:[Fights urge to point out that not everything on the Internet is true] “Well, let’s take a quick look-see at their online documents, shall we?”

My husband, actually, just applied for a volunteer position at a hospital. In addition to his fingerprints, they ran (to their credit) a criminal background check. I yelped in glee and demanded to see their Authorization form.

Not compliant.

The Authorization form contained all kinds of language about a release of liability and hold harmless clauses. No real “disclosure” of which to speak.

Authorization and Disclosure forms should only contain Authorizations and disclosures regarding the background check. No extraneous language about a release of liability or hold harmless clauses.

Examples of lawsuits of this kind abound: In Singleton vs. Domino’s, Domino’s settled an FCRA class action claim for $2.5 million. The basis of the major claim was that Domino’s included waiver of liability in its disclosure that it would obtain a consumer a consumer report. Members of the class did not have to show that they suffered any harm, there no alleged inaccuracies in the background checks.

The company that ran my husband’s background check? Claims in bold print on their website, “We provide an FCRA Compliant background check.”

So, be sure your forms are up-to-date and compliant. Check with your background screener, and because (like Domino’s) it may be your reputation and pocket book on the line, you may want to check with your own attorneys to be sure you meet all the requirements.