MOST employers turn to the web to help get the skinny on their job applicants. But what happens when the information they find is inaccurate? Looking himself up on Spokeo, a “people search engine,” Thomas Robins was surprised to read that he was a well-off man in his fifties with a wife, children and a graduate degree. In fact, Mr Robins is in his thirties, childless, unmarried, unlettered and unemployed.
Alarmed by these discrepancies, Mr Robins sued Spokeo for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a law passed by Congress in 1970 to protect consumers from the dissemination of false information about them. The FCRA makes companies liable for “actual damages” resulting from their “willful violation” of the law. By skewing his personal details on their website, Mr Robins claimed, Spokeo had given potential employers the wrong idea about his identity, bringing him “anxiety, stress, concern, and/or...Continue reading