SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A state court class action claims the tech recruiting start-up TalentBin collects, packages and sells users' information without their authorization.
The case against the company - which was acquired by Monster.com in February 2014 - filed last week in San Francisco Superior Court is similar to federal class action claims brought against professional networking site LinkedIn earlier this year.
Lead plaintiff Eric Halvorson claims that the TalentBin's website "scours the Internet and aggregates personal information about consumers from various sources."
TalentBin then assembles the information into "candidate profiles" - which include rankings of the users' skills based on the gathered information - and sells the profiles to their customers, who use them to evaluate the candidates for employment, Halvorson says.
He also claims that although some users are willing participants, the company's regular practice is to create and sell the profiles "without the consumer having done anything to invite or initiate a relationship" with TalentBin.
In fact, since TalentBin gathers personal information without the users' authorization, "many of the consumers on whom defendant has compiled a candidate profile have no idea that such a profile exists or that it is being communicated to potential employers," Halvorson says in the complaint.
Furthermore, TalentBin's own co-founder Peter Kazanjy has publicly acknowledged that gathering and assembling personal information without people's knowledge and consent is "creepy," according to the complaint.
"Aside from being 'creepy,' when consumers are unaware of the information being communicated about them, they are deprived of the opportunity to ensure that the information is accurate, up-to-date, and adequately reflects their actual qualifications," the suit says.
Halvorson says he found just such issues with the profile TalentBin created for him without his consent, which inaccurately listed his current job and failed to reflect his college degree.
Another named plaintiff, Peter Dallman, says TalentBin refused to provide his own candidate profile when he asked for it.
TalentBin qualifies as a "consumer reporting agency" under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and California's Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act, the complaint says.
The company "willfully and systematically" violated those laws by failing to notify its employer-users of their obligation to comply with the laws, by failing to obtain the legally necessary certifications from those users, failing to provide a summary of the consumers' Fair Credit Reporting Act rights along with the consumer reports and failing to provide the consumers with a copy of their full consumer files, the plaintiffs claim.
They seek class certification, declaratory relief, statutory and punitive damages and an injunction requiring TalentBin to cease its practices and ensure that all users of TalentBin-furnished consumer reports certify that they have a "permissible purpose" to use them.
Neither side responded to request for comment on Tuesday evening.
The plaintiffs are represented by Matthew Helland with Nichols Kaster in San Francisco.
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