General Information Services or GIS is one of numerous employment background check agencies you’re likely to face during your job search. Find out who they are, what they do, and what rights you have under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
What is General Information Services GIS?
General Information Services or GIS was founded in 1966, and is based in Chapin, South Carolina. The company’s headquarters houses most of its 1200 employees, but the company also has offices in Columbia, South Carolina and Dallas, Texas. According to GIS, it is “one of the nation’s oldest and largest background screening providers” and it offers “full-service screening, hiring and onboarding solutions.”
General Information Services provides virtually every type of screening and background check by using the applicant’s name, birth date and social security number including:
Sex offender registry
County, state, national, and federal criminal checks
County and federal civil checks
Global Watchlist Search
National and international employment and education checks
Personal and professional references
Social Security number tracing
GIS also offers “onboarding” services for new hires and post-employment screening. This includes identity and immigration status verifications, employee audits and monitoring, random drug testing, and risk and compliance checks. The company is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).
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Were You Harmed By False Information or Errors In Your General Information Services – GIS Report?
Whether you get hired or promoted often depends on the information learned from an employment background check. A background check can come in many shapes and sizes. It may be as simple as verifying your social security number. Or it may include a detailed report of your credit and criminal history, or even information gathered from interviews of your friends and neighbors about your character and reputation.
Whatever the scope of the background check, the FCRA sets strict standards for how employers and background check companies get consent for and conduct background checks, and what they can do with the information they find.
If a background check company like GIS fails to meet those standards, the FCRA gives you rights.
Common Mistakes On Employee Background Checks:
Background checks are susceptible to errors. Individuals who handle public and private data about you can make mistakes and computer systems can also fail to to be accurate. Here are some of the most common causes for inaccurate info showing on your report:
Wrong or incomplete data in original documents
Typos such as number transposition
Copying, filing, and search mistakes
File corruption in computer system
Outdated negative information
What are my Background Check Disclosure and Consent Rights?
You have a right to know if an employer will use information from a background check against you and an employer cannot obtain background check information without your express written consent.
A background check company cannot hand over your information to an employer unless the employer certifies that: (1) it has “clearly and conspicuously” disclosed to you in a separate document that it may obtain a background check; (2) you have authorized it to get the background check; and (3) it will provide you with advance notice of any adverse action based in any part on the background check report, a copy of the report, and a summary of your rights under the FCRA.
What if I get an adverse action notice from an employer after a background check?
If an employer takes “adverse action” against you by denying you a job based partly or completely on information in a background check report, the employer must give you notice of that fact. The adverse action notice must include the contact information for the background check company and an explanation of your rights to dispute the report.
Can criminal convictions appear on my background check after 7 years?
Yes, but a background check company must take reasonable steps to ensure its report is as accurate as possible. The FCRA also puts limits on the negative information a job screening report can include. A report cannot list civil suits, judgments, arrest records, paid tax liens, accounts in collection or most other negative information after 7 years, or bankruptcies after 10 years. It also cannot list expunged convictions. However misdemeanor or felony criminal convictions that go on record and are accurate can stay on your background check indefinitely.
Can I dispute a false disposition on my background check report?
If you don’t get a job because of information in a background check report, you are entitled to a copy of the report. You also have the right to dispute the report if it has errors or includes information it shouldn’t. If you dispute a report, the background check company must investigate and correct any errors within 30 days.
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Can I Sue General Information Services if my background report includes errors?
If you lost out on a job or promotion because a GIS background check report included inaccurate or illegal information, you may be able to sue in federal court. If you sue and win, you may be entitled to your actual damages or statutory damages up to $1,000, plus punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs.
Actual Complaints Against General Information Services – GIS
Hardworking people just like you who lost job opportunities due to an inaccurate or unfair General Information Services employment background check report have already sued the company for FCRA violations. Justia lists at least 58 federal civil lawsuits against General Information Services, including cases that allege violations of the FCRA due to improper employment screening reports.
For example, on December 8, 2017, a consumer sued General Information Services for violating the FCRA in connection with two employment background checks and that he lost employment opportunities and suffered damages. GIS prepared two background checks but failed to use reasonable procedures to ensure the maximum accuracy possible of the report as the FCRA requires. The complainant alleged that GIS performed a background check on the complainant for GEICO and he lost the job because the report contained incorrect education and employment information. GIS then completed a background check report for JetBlue, which report again contained incorrect employment information. According to the complainant, when he disputed the report in an email to GIS and JetBlue, a GIS representative responded to him and to JetBlue. The complainant alleged further that in her response email, the GIS representative falsely accused the complainant of criminal extortion, even though he had no criminal record.
This is just one of at least 13 federal civil FCRA lawsuits filed against General Information Services between January 1, 2017, and March 15, 2018. Many of those lawsuits allege that GIS did not take reasonable steps to verify education, employment, or criminal background information and caused them to lose job opportunities. Others allege that GIS failed to comply with adverse event notifications, marked the complainant as having “failed” the check, but never informed the complainant of the reason for the failure or a meaningful opportunity to dispute it. Some complainants filed their lawsuits as class action complaints, on behalf of themselves and similarly situated people.
The BBB and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have also received complaints alleging General Information Services violated the FCRA in connection with employment background checks. Most of those complaints allege that GIS reports falsely listed felony convictions, included expunged, outdated, or incorrect information, included incorrect employment information, or misidentified the subject of the report. Some complaints also allege that GIS did not provide required notices and did not properly handle disputes about inaccurate information.
Actual Complaints Listed on the BBB website
“Their horrible background checking procedures and innacurate outdated information just cost me a high paying position. GIS did a (7) year background check on me for employment at Valet Waste from 2009 to the present and submitted info on a misdemeanor that is from 2005. The report clearly says 2009-2016. They also reported to Valet Waste that i am a registered sex offender in Tennessee, which i most certainly am not and if you look on TBI.gov you will see that no such record exists. Valet Waste now wont talk to me after me already accepting the position, turning down my other job offer and quitting my previous position for a Regional Director of operations job with Valet Waste. They didn’t even bother or care to verify the accuracy of the information and sent it to Valet Waste in turn causing me to be turned down for the position that i spent almost 2 months interviewing for!! I called GIS to fix this issue and they said it would take 10-15 business days for them to research the info when you can clearly go to TBI.GOV and find out that i am not a registered sex offender in 5 seconds. I don’t have 15 days for them to research their mistakes!! They need to fix this and only provide accurate information that falls into the timeline stated in the report 2009-2016. This shouldn’t even have been on a 10 year background check much less a 7 year one. They ruined my life!!! “
“GIS performed background check and reported incorrect information. this caused denial of employment. GIS performed a background check using name and date of birth only. They reported incorect information from a person with the same name and dob but different middle name to a potential employer which caused me to be denied employment. Upon contacting GIS i was told this “happens alot and they don’t correct it unless you complain and then it can take 3 weeks”. in the meantime i have no job and can’t apply anywhere until they fix their admitted mistake”
“The background check is inaccurate. Customer service is useless. Background check is keeping me from getting a job. Reported felonies that don’t exist and misdemeanor that are closed reported on report as pending Customer support is doing nothing to rectify the problem. Employer is waiting on them to fix report so I can get hired.”
General Information Services
917 Chapin Road
Chapin, SC 29036
Phone Number: 800-265-4917
Ready to Assert Your FCRA Rights?
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About the Author:
Sergei Lemberg is a lawyer whose practice focuses on consumer law, class actions and personal injury litigation. He has been repeatedly recognized as the “most active consumer attorney” in the country. In 2020, Mr. Lemberg represented Noah Duguid in the United States Supreme Court in the case entitled Duguid v. Facebook. He is the author of Defanging Debt Collectors, a book that teaches consumers how to battle debt collectors and win.