The Walt Disney Company is facing for failure to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. To add insult to injury, the case would likely not have happened if their background screening partner had done their job right the first time.
According to allegations in court documents, Disney relied upon Sterling Infosystems to screen Roger Culberson for a seasonal position in 2011. Sterling’s report incorrectly reflected a conviction for 15-year-old case for public fighting. Unfortunately for Mr. Culberson, Sterling failed to note that the judgment had been set aside and the case dismissed almost two years earlier.

Mr. Culberson alleges that Disney failed to follow the FCRA’s requirement that employers provide applicants copies of their background check and their rights under federal law prior to taking adverse employment action based upon the background check. He also alleges that Disney failed to provide additional required notices after deciding not to hire him.

Mr. Culberson is the lead and only named plaintiff in the suit, which is seeking class-action status.

The takeaways for employers here are two-fold:

  1. The choice of background screening partner is critical. Ask how many disputes the screening company has received in the prior two years and how many resulted in changes of information. A good screening company will have very few disputes and far fewer changes to their information. Also ask for details about the screening firm’s litigation history. As almost all of the cases against screening firms are settled out of court, be sure that settlement details are provided. Sometimes, you can just Google them to get an idea of the kind of company they are.
  2. Follow the FCRA. This seems obvious but a number of employers have faced class action suits for failing to comply with the FCRA’s relatively simple requirements.

Imperative regularly offers webinars to assist employers in understanding the ins and outs of the background screening process, including the various compliance requirements on both screening companies and employers.