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Screening with LinkedIn – Certain information is a “consumer report” says a lawsuit

The popular social network was sued on Oct. 9, 2014, for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act LinkedIn(FCRA). The class action, Sweet v. LinkedIn Corporation, filed in the Northern District of California, claims that LinkedIn’s reference checking services are essentially background screening functions that should be regulated by the FCRA.

The case against LinkedIn

The plaintiffs are claiming that LinkedIn has gotten into the background screening business, but isn’t playing by the rules.

In legal terms, the plaintiffs claim that certain information on LinkedIn is a “consumer report,” information that is compiled for the purpose of employment decisions.

In plain English, a consumer report is just a legal term for a type of a background check.

The argument goes like this: Since the information on LinkedIn is information compiled by a third-party for the express purpose of being sold for use in employment, all of the protections and requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act apply.

To be clear, the information that’s called out in the suit isn’t limited to the stuff you see on public profiles. It’s not the ubiquitous recommendations that you can see for free — the ones that seem to come from your best friend in third grade, your mailman, and your dog sitter.

This paid service causing issues is called, “Trusted References.” Trusted References, the suit alleges, are actually reports compiled by the website, providing a reference search on job candidates or business prospects.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at  LinkedIn Lawsuit Puts Background Screening Function in Question.

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