Swift being sued for not disclosing it used background checks in hiring

| July 30, 2013

12-swift 4 odSwift Transportation has been sued in a federal court for allegedly violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act by not disclosing to applicants that it could access background checks and not allowing applicants to contest those background checks.

The class-action suit, brought by lead plaintiff James Ellis III, says the company neglected to disclose the information to more than 10,000 applicants. Ellis claims in the lawsuit he was denied a job with Swift after the company did a background check. He argues the company was not authorized to view the report, which was pulled from HireRight Solutions, nor did they disclose to him that he could view a free copy of the report within 60 days and that he could dispute the accuracy of any information within the report.

The lawsuit says that per the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Swift should have notified Ellis within three business days of disqualifying him from employment that the action had been taken because of the information in the report and that he could receive a free report. Swift also per FCRA law would have been required to disclose HireRight’s contact information.

The lawsuit says that since 2006 Swift has purchased consumer reports and criminal background checks and does not “provide or obtain an appropriate disclosure and authorization from job applicants…prior to acquiring these criminal background reports.

FCRA laws allows consumers to recover punitive and statutory damages, attorney’s fees and costs for “willful violations of its provisions,” the lawsuit says.

  • Opt Out

    Most all businesses use credit and background checks.your auto insurance cost more if you have bad credit you are a risk.Also it ses you are irresponsibility and non reliable by poor credit reports.Ignorrance is bliss.Blame the. Company for your inadequacies.No buisness wants to waste time on people who have bad track records.There are to many who have their stuff in order to that don’t come with all that negative stuff.Suing is just a way to try to get some company to pay for your poor choices.All companies do this not just swift.to protect them selves from people who lie on applications about background.He just set himself up for people who hire to shy away because of his law suite.If you had nothing to hide this would never happened.He apparently lied on his application.He also is dumb not to think a company who hauls value loads would not check your back ground.You might be a thief .This guy is stupid to think people now days would trust your word,with high value loads…….We can’t idiot proof hiring.most educated people expect these back ground checks.He should ask questions and not try to blame swift.buisneses are not there to educate people who apparently wait for someone to explain how to applications work.Dummmy…….

  • Opt Out

    Also it is common practice if you haul hazmat .you have to pass a federal background .homeland security check.The company would be liable if they did not do a back ground check.He must have just have a lot to hide.

  • RF

    OK ONLY COMMENT I HAVE SEEN MUST HAVE COME FROM A SWIFT DRIVER OR OFFICE EMP, I worked for them once & lets get this straight you CAN drive & not pull Hazmat. 2, they do try to get around the laws any way they can, 3, they make all kinds of promises & get people to go to orientation etc b4 they say to them oh guesse what we can not hire you right now you need to bring this that & the other thing,or worse they only say you are missing one thing send you home then have you come back only to say you are missing something else,i hope this guy wins & wins big,maybe when jerry moyes feels a good pinch in his bank account he will straighten those idiots that run that phoenix terminal out. DON,T BLAME THE GUY WANTING A JOB.

  • cjmarley

    Indeed they do have the right to do a background check…HOWEVER…the law DOES require full disclosure of that check as well as a signature from the person who’s background they are checking that they understand that it is being done and that they are giving permission to do so. It is illegal for a business to do a background check without prior consent to do so.

  • not a perfect driver

    I would like to join the lawsuit. Swift hiring personal are arrogant, condescending, and smug, that is poor business but it is not illegal. Violating federal however is. Have we forgot what had happened at Pilot? I have worked in safety and recruiting for over twenty years, and it pays to respect the applicant even if you are not going to hire him.
    Note. there is a waiver for hazmat if you have a felony on your record. I agree also that not all drivers need hazmat
    with or without a perfect record.

  • martymarsh

    Ok, let’s get this out of the way, are you a lying dispatcher or a lying recruiter?
    Maybe you didn’t understand the story, he just wanted to know what they found out, he doesn’t have to lie to be refused, maybe he had an accident, which he knows he couldn’t lie about, there are a lot of maybe’s there.
    Now the one that always gets me is the auto insurance, people that practice is scum of the earth. They use it to get more money out of people when they and you don’t know the circumstances that got this person in trouble, and by charging them more they are actually helping to keep them from recovering from whatever they have been thru.
    Now the plus side of credit checks for trucking companies, they get to control you, because not everyone is doing good and not everyone is doing bad, so if a company has a problem with you they just reverse or make worse whatever situation you are in. Credit checks to be a truck driver should be out lawed, at least until they do away with harassment. But then why else is it there?
    Your views are garbage.

  • Paul Lafrance

    i have tried to get on with Swift, and other Companies, but none of them hired me because i have a felony. not two or three or more but just one felony that happened when i was 23 and i was convicted when i was 24. I am now 45 with no other crimes on my record. why shouldn’t i be given a second chance in life ??? my felony was not drugs, alcohol related. If at all possible i would love to find a trucking company that would be willing to give me a second chance in life and let me become a truck driver. I am not putting the blame for my actions on any one else, i accepted the blame totally and honestly, it has been over 21 years since my felony conviction, but yet, i am getting treated as if it just happened yesterday. companies need to stop discriminating against people who have just one or two felonies in their background. To any and all trucking companies out there. Will you please give me a second chance at life and at making something out of my self ?? yes, i am a felon. my felony happened over 21 years ago. not proud of it, and not bragging about it. but i am in dire need of being able to support my family. I have been doing my best at keeping my self out of trouble. i have only one felony. have not been into any kind of trouble since then. i do not smoke, drink, do drugs or beat my wife and kids. I made one mistake when i was 23. i am 45 now. won’t some one please give me a second chance in life ??? if there is any trucking company out there that would be willing to send me back to truck driver school for a refresher course, then please feel free to email me or call me. my phone # is 417-396-6072. i want to make something out of my self and to be able to support my wife and kids.

  • ISS

    The main problem that I see on a day to day basis (I own and run a background screening business) is that some of these larger companies look for background screening providers who offer them the ability to sign up instantly and thereby order background reports instantly without the background screening provider ever going through the process of due diligence and making sure that everyone is and remains FCRA compliant-it turns into an intake line. And, while it may not be instant, soon enough these employers may get sued and it all may very well have been prevented if the background screening provider the employer chose took the time to vet the client, go through the FCRA guidelines (consents and proper adverse action notices- which are two by the way- the pre-adverse and the final), scrub the data, and the employer actually took the time to implement those procedures. I understand that we live in a world of right now and that time is money, but when it comes to following federal guidelines, a couple of days taken on both the provider and the employers behalf to dot their i’s and cross their t’s may very well prevent a lawsuit like this one.

  • martymarsh

    There are a lot of companies out there that will hire felons, some of them say 5 years old others say 10, but they are out there you just aren’t looking hard enough. Go to their websites and it will usually tell you what you can and can not have.
    Do you have a CDL?
    mrtmrsh@gmail.com

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  • Opt Out

    I don’t drive for swift .I have worked for retail Management where we get deliveries from many trucking companies.you all seem to want to blame the companies for not hiring you.Felons are not bondable.alot of accounts won’t want to deal with a company because of the drivers it hires.alot of companies like swift seem to have a lot of new drivers without experience.It is not the trucking companies job to hold your hand ,you need to read the packet.It tells you about background check.most applications in small print do to.and its fraud to apply to any business and like on your application,federal law too.People need to learn to read everything before signing and asked questions.back ground checks are on almost all jobs these days.Employers are responsible for who they hire,if they don’t do a back ground check.

  • southbaydude

    credit checks, backround checks and the insurance industry backround checks don’t tell the real truth. For instance. My mother in Hot Springs Arkansas got a parking ticket a couple months ago. She just received a $30 increase in her auto insurance because of the ticket. When she asked why?. They said that the state of Arkansas said the parking ticket is now called and ” obstruction of traffic”. She was in a metered parking spot getting free mineral water from the hot springs. Her parking ticket cost $175 and now she has to pay an additional $30 for at least 3 years before it comes off of her DMV Report. That’s a total of $1080 + $175 =$1255 for a parking ticket..

    Another case in point;

    A young man can’t get a job as a teacher because he has a sex offender case on his record for statutory rape. He was 18 and had sex with his 17 3/4 year old girl friend who he’s now married to her with two kids.

    There are many other cases, I could go on and on, but the point is. Backround checks and credit checks don’t tell the truth, and have mainly been brought to the industry by so called psychologist, selling this to risk management companies who then sell their product to the corporate world…..

    Bottom line, If a applicant doesn’t give you the consent to check his or her backround then scumbags like Swift should be sued for being shady (worse than their potential applicants)…

    Most companies won’t hire you if you don’t give them the consent!. The hiring process usually stops right there…

  • OM617 Power

    I worked for Swift 2006-2008. They told me they would run a background check. It was clearly stated on the application.

  • Alfred Rowe

    Go back and read the story again. It’s about disclosure , you can’t be this stupid and allow to drive big rigs can you!!!!!

  • JJ

    I have good credit but I believe people that have had the disfortunate of bad credit for like a short time span or have proved over a reasonable period of months they are being responsible shouldnt be black balled, hey sometimes things happen in ones life and ruin someones credit, that doesnt make that person a bad risk, at least give them a probationary period to prove themselves otherwise. Again I have good credit, but Im against this action as it stands at present…even God almighty is merciful and gives people second chances…but if you keep messing up with Him he is gonna sooner or later get pissed!!

  • Zen Kitteh

    Credit score is not a valid measure of someones trustworthiness or reliability or a valid measure of anything. I have zero credit. Why? I have been responsible enough to keep away from debt. I have paid all my bills on time and in cash. I have been working at the same job for three years and have never been late for work. I have always performed my job to more than 100%. What do I get for my no credit? I get discrimination from companies. No credit is almost like leprosy, nobody wants you. I cannot get a bank account. Nobody wants to give me an interview for work. Nobody will give me the time of day. I think no credit should be seen in similar light to good credit. Credit scores are used to judge people now days ya know.

  • unclealfie

    You missed the point entirely. Did you even read the article?
    The problem is not that companies do background checks its that they fail to inform the individual, as required by law, when they do so.

  • unclealfie

    Another dummy who missed the point entirely. Did you even read the article?
    The problem is not that companies do background checks its that they fail to inform the individual, as required by law, when they do so.

  • unclealfie

    As an adult, at some point in your life, when you were in your 20s, someone should have told you how the big-boy world works, if you weren’t bright enough to figure it out yourself.
    You can’t live in the big-boy world without good credit.
    Is it fair? Hell, no. It’s just life, and you have to deal with it.

  • Blackaton

    Who in their right mind would want to go work for Swift anyway? That said why did they not disclose? I’m guessing it is standard hiring practice.

  • Zen Kitteh

    So you are saying I should be irresponsible, always be in debt and bow to my masters? Sorry, can’t do it. If you wish to, your life. I like not having debt.

  • Opt Out

    I read the article .it is in your application packet.I got the point thet you have to idiot proof the inter veiws.hold there hands and read the small print on app.a few drivers who read this ,said you get a lot of under educated winers,.looking to blame the companies if they are not hired.a driver told me that all the companies he worked for had this info in your application packet.I asked a paralegal to see if it has to be verbale or just in the papers.most the time it is required in writing not verbal.dummies can’t read.

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  • JJ

    Actually a felon can qualify for Hazmat, it just has to fall within a certain time frame and the felony not consist of very specific crimes.

  • JJ

    If the accusations had no merit legally, then the courts would have denied pursuit of the issue… Food for thought!

  • Tony Smith

    Brother, I’m afraid you’re gonna have to lease from someone to build a good industry record. It’s not fair…but it’s going to be your best shot.

  • LoneKnight

    It all depends on what your felony was. Certain ones will get you pretty well blackballed for life, others the companies may be able to overlook. And it may take going to work for one of the really small companies with only a handful of trucks first.

  • LoneKnight

    And also to get an authorization to do said background check before doing it.

  • Pingback: Swift Sued for Not Disclosing Background Screening | Criminal Screening Blog

  • Barry Henson

    LOL!! The american dream, over spend and deep in debt!! I dont care about my credit. I will never borrow money from anyone as long as I live!!! And I live in the big boy world. If I cant write a check for it, I dont buy it. Thats the big boy world!! If everyone in this world would do the same, our country would be in a whole other place!!!

  • arobinson

    No one in their right mind would want to drive a tractor, unless they are homeless. bY THE TIME YOU get that little check 70% of it has been spent of food. And the regulations don’t allow you to make money. Freight is so low that independents can’t make money, and many of those claiming that they are independents are nothing more then hired jockeys. How can you be n independent driving under some company authority? You would do better working at McDonald’s then driving a tractor. Run the numbers.

  • commander

    how do i join this lawsuit?

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  • John Hollis

    And how do I get my check?

  • djl

    Yup swift did me the same way not hiring me .. in my case was told under fed law they are not allowed to take tell me what info was used nor allowed to dispute it findings… if any lawyer wants me can reach me ed_liebel2001@ yahoo

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