Job Seekers Slam Faulty Background Checks

CHICAGO (CN) – Two federal lawsuits accuse background check companies of costing job applicants work by sending prospective employers outdated and inaccurate background check reports.

In one complaint filed Thursday in Chicago federal court, Ahmad Khalid alleges Backgroundchecks.com cost him a job because it reported sealed criminal information and then duplicated it, making it appear as though Khalid had a longer criminal history than he actually had.

Between 10 and 30 years ago, Khalid was convicted of multiple crimes in Cook County, Ill. In 2013, He petitioned a Cook County judge to seal his criminal convictions, which the judge granted, shielding them from the public, he says.

In December, Khalid applied through staffing agency BG Staffing to be a maintenance worker at an apartment complex. After receiving his report from Backgroundchecks.com, BG Staffing allegedly canceled its scheduled appointment with Khalid and instead handed him a letter saying it would not offer him a position because of his background check report.

This is not Backgroundcheck.com’s first time being accused of making this mistake. It has been hit with at least five lawsuits in recent years making similar allegations.

“Backgroundchecks.com reported Khalid’s convictions multiple times, even though another individual, George Boskie, sued the company in September 2016 for the same thing – reporting criminal convictions multiple times in the same report,” Khalid’s lawsuit states. “Backgroundchecks.com did not regularly check to determine whether criminal record information contained in its criminal record database had been sealed or expunged before reporting it to employers.”

Backgroundchecks.com did not respond Monday to a request for comment submitted through an online form.

In another federal lawsuit filed Thursday, Jeneen Scott says her sealed criminal information was revealed by credit report company Sterling Infosystems.

About 10 years ago, Scott was convicted of a crime in Cook County and a judge ordered that the charge be sealed from public view.

In November, she says she applied to work for Document Technologies and was required to submit to a background check. The next month, the company decided not to offer Scott the job because her background check report disclosed the sealed criminal conviction, according to her lawsuit.

“Sterling did not implement strict procedures to ensure that the criminal record information being reported about Scott to Document Technologies was complete and up to date,” Scott’s complaint states.

A spokesman for Sterling didn’t provide comment by press time Monday.

Both lawsuits claim that Backgroundchecks.com and Sterling Infosystems did not purchase available electronic updates from the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk informing background check companies when criminal records have been sealed or expunged.

Khalid and Scott seek punitive damages for loss of employment under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

They are each represented in their separate lawsuits by Christopher Wilmes of Hughes Socol in Chicago.