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Swift to Pay $4.4 Million to Settle Background Check Lawsuit


Law360 reported that Swift Transport will pay $4.4 million to settle a class-action lawsuit for allegedly neglecting to inform more than 10,000 applicants that they can access and contest background checks that are used during the company’s pre-employement screening process.

According to the suit, Swift violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act when the company failed to disclose to prospective employees that they could see their records and address incorrect reports, an allegation Swift denies.

The suit was filed by James Ellis III in July of 2013.  He alleges that Swift ran a background check on him without his approval and he didn’t get the job he had applied for because of issues on his report, though the suit does not state whether or not the information in Ellis’ report was accurate or not– just that Ellis was not hired because of information found in the report.

In addition, “Swift at no time notified the plaintiff that it had taken adverse action against him based in whole or in part on the report as it was required to do under the FCRA within three days of the adverse action. The company, in addition, neglected to provide other required notice, including that plaintiff could obtain a free copy and dispute the accuracy or completeness of the criminal background report with the consumer reporting agency,” Employment Law Daily reported.

The suit claimed that over a 5-year period, as many as 10,000 prospective employees were subjected to background checks without the applicants’ knowledge.

The FCRA states that if a company runs a background check on a prospective employee, they must obtain the applicant’s permission to do so, and they must notify the applicant that he or she has 60 days to obtain a free copy of the report, so that he or she can dispute the reports accuracy.

Ellis will receive $5,000 of the settlement and sever other plaintiffs in the suit will receive $1,000 each. The plaintiffs will also receive any other compensation they’re entitled to.

If more than 5% of the plaintiffs elect to opt out of the settlement, the agreement will be terminated.

As a result of the suit, Swift applicants now receive a notice with information regarding employee rights, the reporting agency that is used for background cheeks and employees must sign a statement acknowledge that they are aware of Swift is running background checks and reports.



Employment Law Daily


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