FTC Says When Conducting Background Checks, Don’t Double-Dip!

On February 16th, the FTC published a blog post about the importance of organizations using consumer reports in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). According to the FTC, it is important that organizations only use consumer reports for the purpose for which they originally obtained them and to refrain from using them for secondary reasons.

When conducting a background check on an applicant or employee, you must certify to the consumer reporting agency (background screening vendor) the purpose for which you will use it. You must then use the report only for that purpose. As an example, if you obtain a report for employment purposes, you cannot also use it to make a credit decision.

According to the FTC, the three important principles for users of consumer reports to keep in mind are:

  • If an employer makes a negative decision on a person based on a consumer report, it is important to notify the person with an adverse action notice;
  • The adverse action notice may be provided orally, electronically, or in writing; and
  • Employers must securely dispose of the consumer report when finished.



CARCO Group Presents Complimentary Webinar – 2017 New Form I-9

January 27, 3:00-4:00PM EST

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration recently revised Form I-9. Is your program still compliant?

Find out by registering for this complimentary webinar, hosted by CARCO’s I-9/E-verify Product Manager, David Hair.


What will be covered?

David will highlight the recent changes to Form I-9, important information to stay compliant, CARCO’s I-9/E-verify solution and more!

Who should attend this webinar?

Experienced I-9 professionals and novices alike will benefit from this in depth overview.

Have a scheduling conflict?

No worries! Simply register for the event to receive an archived recording 2 business days following the event.


View Systems Requirement for Webinar Participation


Express Services Settles Background Check Class Action for $5.7M

Plaintiff Jose Flores sued Express Services alleging that they violated pre-adverse action notice to employees and job applicants, as required by the FCRA, by not affording them the opportunity to correct any inaccuracies in background checks before Express took adverse action against them. Defendants deny that their actions violated the law.

Mr. Flores and Express Services agreed to settle the claims alleged in the case to avoid the cost and risk of trial.

The Settlement Agreement provides the following benefits:

  • Defendants have changed practices to address the conduct complained of in the litigation.
  • Defendants will pay the sum of $5,750,000.00 into a Settlement Fund.

Important lesson to employers: Over the last few years, federal courts have increased scrutiny of employer compliance with the FCRA’s adverse action requirements. Employers must follow the requirements if they intend to take adverse action against a job applicant or employee BEFORE the adverse action is taken.

Simply put, if you intend to deny employment based upon the results of a background check, you must provide a pre-adverse action notice to the individual, including a copy of the consumer report. This action gives the applicant or employee an opportunity to correct any mistakes in the report and discuss it with you before the company takes adverse action. Failure to do so – now more than ever – will most likely result in a lawsuit you cannot win.

To learn more on FCRA compliance click here or contact a CARCO Specialist at 866-557-5884.


Wegmans Hit with Class Action for FCRA Violations Related to Background Checks

wegmans_logoTwo Wegmans Food Market employees have accused the supermarket chain of violating the FCRA by inappropriately using consumer background checks to screen job applicants and not telling them first.

Plaintiffs Ashleigh Wheeler, who was hired in 2013 as a cashier, and Jerah Brewster, who was hired in 2015 by the grocer as a pharmacy technician and later worked as a coffee shop attendant, filed the proposed class action lawsuit in New York federal court.

Wheeler and Brewster say they completed Wegmans’ standard electronic documents related to their employment which included an authorization to conduct a background check and a credit check.

However, the pair contend that Wegmans’ online authorization for a background check failed to properly disclose to them that the grocery chain would obtain consumer background reports.

According to the class action, Wegmans, “acted willfully and in deliberate or reckless disregard of its obligations and the rights of plaintiffs Wheeler, Brewster and other class members without making the required disclosure.”

Additionally, under the FCRA, job applicants have a right to obtain their consumer reports and to have errors in the reports corrected. But Wegmans’ background check authorization document allegedly failed to inform job applicants of this right.

Instead, the lawsuit states that the document contained wording that released Wegmans from all liabilities related to information found in the background check.

The authorization allegedly included the following language: “I hereby release Wegmans, my former employers, and all other persons or entities contacted by Wegmans from any and all claims, demands, or liabilities arising out of or in any way related to the release, disclosure, and use of such information.”

The Plaintiffs’ allege that the inclusion of this provision in the same document as the background authorization is a direct violation of the FCRA.

The pair claim they were misled about the nature and purpose of giving consent for the consumer background check and had their privacy subsequently invaded.

They are seeking to represent a nationwide Class of all Wegmans employees and job applicants who were the subjects of consumer reports obtained by the supermarket chain over the past five years.

The lawsuit is requesting not less than $100 but not more than $1,000 in compensation for each FCRA violation as well as punitive damages.

Over and over again we hear about class action lawsuits regarding FCRA violations. The FCRA is very clear. Organizations must ensure they are in compliance or risk being sued. Partnering with a reputable background screening company is one way of ensuring compliance. Contact CARCO Group to see how we can help – 1-866-557-5984.



Wheeler, et al. v. Wegmans Food Markets Inc., Case No. 6:16-cv-06825, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York.

Remember to use the new Form I-9 as of January 22, 2017


The revised Form I-9 and instructions on how to use it can be found on the USCIS website.

Some notable changes:

  • It asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used”
  • The certification process for certain foreign nationals has been streamlined
  • It has dedicated areas for adding additional information, rather than having to add it in the margins
  • Prompts have been added to help ensure information is entered correctly, and
  • Multiple preparers and translators can now be entered.

USCIS is also saying that the revised Form I-9 is easier to complete using a computer, thanks to:

  • Drop-down lists and calendars for filling in dates,
  • On-screen instructions for each field
  • Easy-to-access full instructions, and
  • An option to clear the form and start over.

To ensure I-9/E-Verify compliance, contact CARCO today 1-866-557-5984 or click here to be contacted by a CARCO Specialist.



Caterpillar Hit With Age Bias Suit Over Social Media Firing

caterpillar-logoCaterpillar Inc. is being sued for alleged unlawful discrimination based on age when it fired an over-40 employee because of her off-duty Facebook post.  The fired employee claims she was a victim of disparate treatment based on age. But Caterpillar said the employee was terminated because it feared she might be harassing a co-worker whom she commented about on Facebook.

Tammy Applebaum worked as a distribution clerk at Caterpillar’s Lafayette, IA, plant.  She alleges she was fired for writing a comment responding to a younger co-worker’s Facebook post. The younger employee was not reprimanded by Caterpillar.

According to the complaint, Natasha Burns, the younger Caterpillar employee, was dating Applebaum’s son. Burns posted a Facebook message, while at work, alluding to the fact that “all the guys wanted to take nude photos” of her. When Applebaum saw the post she posted a comment on Burns’ Facebook page, saying “you’ve been down that road before.”

About two weeks later, Caterpillar told Applebaum she was being terminated immediately because it feared she would create “a hostile working environment” for Burns, according to the complaint.

“Applebaum’s case is less about social media policies than about Caterpillar using a pretext to rid itself of a 52-year-old employee because of her age,” said Jay Meisenhelder who is representing Applebaum in this suit.

Caterpillar claimed Applebaum posed a harassment danger even though she and Burns worked in different departments and Applebaum never approached Burns or exchanged any words with her at work, the complaint said.

Meisenhelder said the company’s decision to fire Applebaum while not disciplining Burns for apparently posting on Facebook during working hours is disparate treatment that violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

According to Bloomberg BNA’s interviews on the case, two attorneys who represent employers in labor and employment cases, but are not involved in this case, had the following to say:

  • John DiNome, a partner with Reed Smith in Philadelphia: Employers might have grounds to discipline or discharge an employee for comments posted online if they can link it to other conduct that might support harassment concerns. However, employers should tread carefully because workers’ off-duty social media posts can be protected activity under the National Labor Relations Act.
  • Michael C. Schmidt, a Cozen O’Connor partner in New York: Employers also need to be careful about regulating their employees’ off-duty conduct because some states, including New York, restrict employers’ actions based on workers’ lawful off-duty conduct. But the “heightened sensitivity” to potential harassment means employers must pay more attention to their employees’ online activity. Employers should at least investigate if they learn about social media posts that might be harassing to co-workers, he said. Harassment that occurs online could leave an employer just as vulnerable to claims as if it happened “in person at the water cooler,” Schmidt said.

Applebaum v. Caterpillar, Inc. , N.D. Ind., No. 16-97, complaint filed 11/25/16.

FTC Releases Tenant Screening Information on FCRA Compliance

Law book  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released information on what landlords and their tenant background screening companies need to know to ensure compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Tenant background checks can include a variety of information, including rental and eviction history, credit, or criminal records. These reports are also known as consumer reports. It is important to know the steps that must be taken before obtaining a consumer report and after adverse action is taken based on that report in order to be FCRA compliant.

Some of the tips provided are:

  • Follow reasonable procedures to assure accuracy
  • Get certifications from your clients
  • Provide your clients with information about the FCRA
  • Honor the rights of applicants and tenants

Interested in learning more? Below are the links from the FTC to review for detailed information.

What Tenant Background Screening Companies Need to Know About the Fair Credit Reporting Act

Using Consumer Reports: What Landlords Need to Know


To learn more about how CARCO ensures complete compliance with the FCRA, click here or call 1-866-557-5984 to speak with a CARCO Specialist.

Are you looking to improve your candidate experience? Here are 5 ways CARCO’s Onboarding Solution can help

istock_000014755946large-happy-employee-with-computerAttracting qualified candidates is difficult in this very competitive and candidate-driven market. According to a recent survey by Aberdeen Group, 45% of companies say improving the candidate experience is their top talent acquisition priority in 2016. Therefore, how recruiters and talent acquisition teams deliver the candidate experience has never been more important.

The better the candidate experience, the more likely your company can attract the best hire. A great onboarding system will organize and streamline the process and give candidates a positive experience. An engaging and positive candidate experience will ensure a competitive edge in attracting and retaining top performers!

CARCO’s Onboarding Solution was designed to focus on the user experience; both the users who will be reviewing background reports in our system and the candidates who will be interacting with our system.

Here’s how CARCO’s Onboarding Solution will help you stand out from the competition.

  1. Automates and organizes the hiring process:  CARCO’s Onboarding Solution was built specifically to alleviate paper-based, time-consuming and labor-intensive new hire processes. Through the use of CARCO’s Onboarding portal, candidates can upload documentation such as education transcripts and/or employment paystubs or statements which may be used to supplement the background report.
  2. Guides candidates throughout the process: CARCO’s Request For Information module (RFI) automatically sends out an email that identifies the elements missing from the application and asks the recipient to take specific action using our Onboarding Solution, including uploading specific documents directly into CARCO’s portal. The candidate will know where he or she stands throughout the entire process.
  3. It’s mobile friendly: Mobile devices have changed the way HR and candidates operate.  CARCO’s mobile app, available in iOS and Android, allows end users to securely submit supporting documents by taking pictures of the documents with their smart phones or tablets. This application uses a QR code to establish login context and is used by the mobile app to identify which documents are required.  The mobile app then walks the candidate through the process seamlessly.  The candidate is prompted to take pictures of their missing documentation, which is then sent securely (the transmission is encrypted) by the mobile app directly to CARCO’s servers for processing.  The pictures of the documents are not stored on the mobile device for security purposes.
  4. Keeps the process efficient: Not one piece of information ever needs to be retyped by a user in our system. In a paper based environment, this is impossible to avoid. In CARCO’s advanced, rules- based electronic environment, this can be effectively managed for the user, preventing any duplicate data entry. This is an important CARCO differentiator and it means that the candidates, recruiters, and other stakeholders are prompted to provide all data, e-sign all forms, and upload any supporting documents all at the time of their initial entry.  In addition to making internal HR and security tasks more efficient, this also strikes at the heart of improving the candidate experience.
  5. Provides e-signature capability: CARCO has extensive capabilities for accepting online candidate consents, in addition to other documents. Candidates can e-sign the online consent directly in CARCO’s Onboarding Solution.  Alternatively, candidates or recruiters can upload a paper-signed consent using our portal directly or via our mobile application for providing documentation. In a typical implementation, most or all candidates e-sign consents, including the authorization for performing the background investigation (FCRA authorization), directly in the portal.

In the end, an organized and streamlined onboarding process will make the candidate feel valued, supported and prepared to move forward with your company in a positive manner.

For more information on how CARCO’s Onboarding Solution can ensure a positive candidate and new hire experience, click here or call 1-866-557-5984 to speak to a CARCO Specialist.

Dish Network to pay $1.75M to settle class action for FCRA violations

dish_logo  On September 7th, Dish Network, LLC agreed to a $1.75 million settlement resolving allegations that the company violated the FCRA.

The Plaintiffs accused the company of soliciting background reports on technicians, hired as contractors, without providing disclosure forms. The Plaintiffs also accused the company of prohibiting “high-risk” technicians from working on certain Dish projects, without allowing technicians the opportunity to verify or correct information included in their background check reports.

The settlement will offer $480 to the 9,000 contractors that Dish labeled “high-risk” and offer $80 to the 38,000 contractors that Dish failed to provide disclosures to. The complaint accused Dish of being aware of its FCRA obligations but intentionally choosing to ignore disclosure requirements.

The suit was originally filed in 2012 and included Sterling Infosystems Inc., the background screening vendor that provided the reports.  Sterling paid $4.75 million in November 2015 to settle the claims against it.


Ernst v. Dish Network LLC et al., case number 1:12-cv-08794, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

DID YOU KNOW? CARCO Has Technology Driven Solutions

Portal mobile combo photo

CARCO’s Technology Driven Solutions provide:

  • Onboarding Platform
  • Pre-Hire & New Hire Form automation
    • Pre-Hire & New Hire
    • Direct Deposit
    • Employee Engagement Surveys
    • Exit Interview
    • Training Videos
  • Seamless integration with our in-house Drug and Background processes
  • Electronic signature
  • Secure Mobile Document Upload App
  • Applicant Portal and Task Wizard
  • Client Portal with Dashboard to manage applicants & client tasks
  • Technology that allows for multiple client roles and multiple automated and customizable applicant workflows
  • Proactive email reminders
  • Experience at integrating with multiple ATS systems
  • Automated EEOC compliance
  • CARCO Analytics Reporting Tool (CART)
  • I-9/E-verify

For more information on CARCO’s Technology Driven Solutions, visit http://www.carcogroup.com or call 866-557-5984 to speak to a CARCO Specialist.