For the second time in two years, trucking company Swift Transportation is facing a lawsuit alleging it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The proposed class action suit filed in a Virginia federal court claims that Swift failed to disclose to more than 10,000 job applicants that it could access background checks and that applicants had the right to dispute those background checks. Under FCRA, employers are required to provide applicants with a copy of their background checks if a negative hiring decision is made based on the findings.
The lead plaintiff, James Ellis III, claims he applied for a job as a truck driver with Swift but was turned away after Swift discovered the results of his background check. Ellis claims that Swift was required under FCRA to notify him within three business days that he was disqualified from employment and that the action was taken due to the information in the report.
According to the complaint, "Swift did not advise the plaintiff prior to the procurement of his consumer report, that he could receive a free copy of the consumer report within 60 days, and that he could dispute the accuracy or completeness of any information contained within the consumer report with the consumer reporting agency".
Swift faced a similar lawsuit in 2011; however, it was dismissed over incorrect court filings.
While these cases are judged on each particular set of facts, employers should be mindful of their responsibilities under FCRA. Recently, there have been several lawsuits based on employers' failure to provide the required disclosures and notifications to job applicants, including one that led to a $3 million settlement.