Category Archives: Credit Checks

The Top 3 Questions Property Managers Need to Ask NOW
Posted on: October 25, 2016


What 3 questions do you need to ask yourself right now?

1. Is it time to review your tenant screening program for compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

  • Know the  FCRA. A good screening company can help you with this.

2. Does your screening partner know the law?

3. Are you prepared for the potential class action lawsuits that may emerge as a result of non-compliance?

  • Employers were slow to adapt and paid millions of dollars to class action plaintiffs and lawyers who know the pitfalls and utilize them to their benefit.
  • There are professional plaintiffs out there that know the law and are actively seeking violators.


Be proactive. Work with professionals to insure your compliance. The FCRA isn’t just for employers anymore!



Here are links to the materials provided by the FTC:

What Tenant Background Screening Companies Need to Know About the Fair Credit Reporting Act

Using Consumer Reports: What Landlords Need to Know


Fair Credit Reporting Act and Employment Background Checks
Posted on: December 16, 2014

In this article we will continue to look at the different requirements that the FCRA imposes on users of background checks in the employment setting and the rising tide of litigation surrounding the use of employment background checks without proper compliance procedures in place.

Specifically, we will focus on the rules an employer must follow when considering taking adverse action against a candidate or employee based even partly on information contained in employment background checks. Failing to follow proper adverse action procedures has become a top target for class action litigation.

The Pre-adverse Action notification requires that before making the final decision the employer must:

  1. Provide notice to the candidate that they have received a background check that contains information potentially disqualifying them from the position in question.
  2. Provide the applicant a copy of the report itself.
  3. Provide the applicant a copy of the “Summary of Consumer Rights under the FCRA.”
  4. Along with the Pre-Adverse action notification, the candidate must be provided with the name, address, and telephone number of the consumer reporting agency that procured the background report, as well as a statement notifying the candidate that the consumer reporting agency did not make the decision to take adverse action and is unable to provide reasons or information pertaining to the action itself.

The candidate may dispute the information provided by the consumer reporting agency allowing for any misreported, outdated, or otherwise incorrect data to be corrected.

The Adverse Action notification can begin after a “reasonable amount of time” has passed from the initial notification, and must:

  1. Be accompanied by a copy of the background report.
  2. Include a copy of the “Summary of Your Rights under the FCRA.”
  3. Must include a notification that the candidate is being disqualified from potential employment based on the results of employment background checks.

Ensuring that your company is completely FCRA compliant can generally be accomplished by working closely with a quality employment screening provider (consumer reporting agency) and competent legal counsel. Many consumer reporting agencies have comprehensive and tested programs already in place to accommodate their clients’ adverse action procedures.

About the Author:

Matthew J. Rodgers, PHR is the President of, a background screening company that specializes in fast, accurate, compliant and affordable screening solutions for employers.

Lessons from the River for Business Owners and HR Professionals
Posted on: March 13, 2013

Matthew J. Rodgers, President, 

Are you an HR professional or a business owner who utilizes background checks for employment purposes? Does your organization count on you to shield it from expensive lawsuits and unnecessary discussions with regulatory agencies such as the EEOC?

The challenge of keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of emerging risk factors is daunting. Most of us have a mental survival mechanism that creates a quick ranking of the potential risk involved with each new issue that catches our attention . The less we hear about other companies being sued or investigated, the faster we put that issue on the back burner. Maybe that particular issue rises in importance in the future, and maybe it doesn’t.

I have spent a lifetime running businesses and whitewater rivers. Running a complex and dangerous river is similar to meeting a complex and dangerous challenge in the workplace. Rapids on a river just happen with greater speed and frequency and the results of poor planning and execution can be far more dire. We refer to a life threatening swim in a dangerous stretch of river as “Getting Maytagged” because it is like surviving the wash, rinse and spin cycle in a Maytag washing machine. Speaking from experience, it is always better to avoid being Maytagged whenever possible.

I make the following comparison because of the profound similarities between business challenges and river challenges.

At work, you start to hear about other employers that have been penalized or sued for failing to raise the level of attention to an emerging policy issue. As an HR professional or business owner, if you have access to this information and have an ear to the ground then these scenarios become clear signs that it is time to re-assess and make important policy changes.

On the river, you always hear the impending rapid way before you see it. The louder it gets, the more attention and respect it deserves. In most cases, you can paddle to the side of the river, get out of your boat and scout the water ahead. Scouting simply involves climbing up high and looking down on the river allowing you to plan your approach and descent.

Of course there is always the “Read and run” method which ignores scouting in favor of reading the water as you run it, but this can and often does lead to being Maytagged.

With experience, you will develop an ear for the river, just like you acquire a well developed ear for your business. If you are listening and paying attention, you are probably aware of the following recent news stories.

  • Pepsi to pay $3.13 Million and Made Major Policy Changes to Resolve EEOC Findings
  • Kmart Corporation Pays $3 million to settle a class action lawsuit involving claims that it failed to inform 60,000 job applicants that they could be denied employment based on background checks
  • Dollar General’s Use of Criminal Background Checks Faces EEOC Scrutiny

These are just a few examples of large corporations that have in-house legal teams and multiple Human Resources professionals on their payroll and yet they simply did not scout the water. Read and run? $3 Million dollar Maytag.

Would your company or career survive this kind of judgement, scrutiny or penalty?

The only thing better than scouting a rapid is running it with a with a highly experienced, trained and seasoned  River Guide who runs that river professionally.

So the question is, how comfortable are you that your company has effectively scouted the potential risks surrounding :

  • Proper Pre-Authorization by applicants and employees?
  • Individualized Assessment to avoid Title VII Liability? 
  • Pre-Adverse Action and Adverse Action Steps?

The river is getting very, very loud. In addition to these examples there are many attorneys who make their living one client at a time focused exclusively on these specific issues. Can you hear it? Will you attempt to read and run it? Will you scout it? Hire a guide?

You do not need to lie awake at night knowing that this threat to your business is out there and that you may be one phone call away from getting financially and professionally Maytagged.

If you are not certain about your policies and practices surrounding these critical areas and the use of background checks in the employment setting perhaps it is time to address this challenge head-on.

Contact me and I will share with you a path to safety based on the guidance of industry-leading professional legal experts.  Don’t get Maytagged. My company is We are employment background screening professionals and we know this river!