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Inaccurate background checks can prevent qualified candidates from being hired.

When it comes to employment discrimination, there are strict rules on what employers can use as grounds for not hiring a prospective employee. In short, employers are not allowed to refuse hiring for reasons of gender, race, age and other demographic factors spelled out in discrimination laws.

Although employers have these limits on who they can and cannot hire, they generally not required to hire applicants who don't pass criminal background checks. So in most cases of non-hires based on failed background checks, the applicants don't bring employment discrimination claims. However, what happens when the background check is wrong?

Not-Hiring Due to Inaccurate Background Check

According to a report in Top Class Actions online, a Colorado man was denied employment at a local Starbucks coffee shop due to a failed background check. The background check apparently returned results consisting of "criminal felony and misdemeanor records from counties in Pennsylvania, some of which involved violent crime and drug-related charges," according to the article.

The man denied employment claims the background check was false, possibly the result of identity theft. In fact, he claims he has never even been to Pennsylvania.

However, by the time he followed the procedure to dispute the background check results, "Starbucks had already removed him from consideration for employment."

Legal Options

It is not discrimination for an employer to refuse a hire based on criminal history, the case is not a discrimination claim. The prospective employee is bringing a claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

According to the FCRA, employers need to give every job applicant a meaningful opportunity to dispute background check findings. In this case, the plaintiff is claiming that Starbucks made its decision before he could follow the dispute procedure and get an accurate, updated background report.

Protect Your Rights

If you have been denied employment due to a failed background check, you might not think you have a claim because it doesn't look like discrimination. However, there are numerous claims that many prospective employers might not consider. It is critical to talk directly with an experienced employment lawyer who can identify potential claims and protect your interests.

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