Christopher Twumasi-Ankrah was working hard, trying to make a living like many other Americans. Then he was fired because a background check provided misleading information to his employer. Now, thanks to a groundbreaking decision handed down by the United States Court for the Sixth Circuit, the Fair Credit Reporting Act will prevent this from happening to anyone else.
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The issue of not at fault accidents showing up on your background check
Twumasi-Ankrah was employed as a driver for Uber when they ran a routine background check using Checkr. The background check furnished information from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles that stated Mr. Trwumasi-Ankrah had three motor vehicle accidents on record, dated October 2015, December 2015, and February 2017. Uber promptly terminated him as a result of this report.
The background report failed to explain that Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah was not at fault in two of the three accidents. Although he provided documentation proving that he was judged not guilty of the minor traffic offense which caused the December 2015 accident, and a police report stating that he was the victim of a hit-and-run in the February 2017 accident, Checkr refused to alter its report. This meant that not only did Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah lose his job with Uber, but this background report could present a significant impediment in securing further employment in his chosen field. His reputation was also being affected.
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Is It Fair To Be Deactivated If Your Background Check Fails To State An Accident Wasn’t Your Fault?
Lemberg Law filed suit against Checkr on Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah’s behalf on January 25, 2019 in the Northern District of Ohio, alleging under 15 U.S.C. §1681 that Checkr failed to follow reasonable procedures to ensure the background report was completely accurate, and for failing to verify the accuracy of the information it then provided to Uber. Lemberg Law further alleged that the plaintiff suffered damages as the result of Checkr’s conduct in the form of lost wages, distress, and reputation.
On May 20, 2019 Checkr filed a motion to dismiss , stating that Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah failed to prove that his background report was inaccurate (it was true that he had accidents on the dates furnished by the report), that Checkr’s methods of assuring accuracy of their reports were unreasonable, and that his rights were violated as a result.
The court held that in order to establish a claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a plaintiff must prove that the information provided by the background report was “factually inaccurate.” It further elaborated that the information has to be “literally factually inaccurate,” in other words, it must be wrong. Although the information on Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah’s background report was misleading and incomplete, it was not wrong. It was true he had accidents on the dates in question.
Lemberg Law disagreed with the court’s decision, and filed an appeal with the Sixth Circuit, leading to today’s groundbreaking decision, a victory for working America.
The court held that material omissions, such as not reporting the fault of an accident, can be interpreted as inaccurate information under the law. Therefore, it was unreasonable for Checkr to fail to state the fault in Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah’s accidents, as it led to Uber assuming the plaintiff was at fault, causing them to terminate his employment under the assumption he was a bad driver.
The higher court reversed the earlier decision.
What Does This Mean For Rideshare Drivers and Gig Economy Workers ?
It means that it is unlawful for inaccurate reporting on a background check to cost you your job. In today’s economy, jobs can be difficult to come by, and ominous reports state that many Americans are but one paycheck away from economic ruin. Now background check companies are being held to a higher standard of investigation when producing a background report.
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If you’re ready to assert your rights and fight incorrect information in your background check, we can help you get justice. Complete our form for a FREE case evaluation, or call 844-685-9200 NOW.