A man was denied a job after a prospective employer ran a background check that returned a 1987 rape conviction.
The problem is that the man, Samuel M. Jackson, was just 4 years old in 1987.
The actual rape conviction was for a man named Samuel L. Jackson, who was incarcerated at the time the check was run.
The National Consumer Law Center says situations like that have become much more common as more background checks are performed. Criminal background checks conducted on prospective employees routinely contain errors, mismatch people or misclassify criminal offenses. Information that a job applicant who was arrested was found innocent may not be contained in the information supplied to the employer.
"The report’s authors urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to draw up regulations to ensure that background checks are accurate and to require background-check companies to register with the bureau so consumers have an opportunity to correct false or misleading information.
"They also urge the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the many companies that employers use to make sure they are not violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a federal law that protects consumers from false information in credit reports."