California District Court Holds that LinkedIn’s “Reference Searches” Function Not a Consumer Report Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

A judge recently handed down an important decision regarding the application of the FCRA to one of LinkedIn’s search products. The decision comes amidst a fluid legal landscape for employers and consumer reporting agencies trying to remain in compliance with the FCRA and provides another example of a court grappling with how to reconcile new technologies with existing statutes. The central dispute was whether “Reference Searches” fit within the FCRA’s definition of “consumer report.” If so, LinkedIn may have been on the hook for failing to comply with the FCRA’s disclosure, authorization and other requirements. But the judge sided with LinkedIn, concluding that reference searches are not consumer reports under the FCRA.

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Posted Under: EBI

Post By Barry Nixon (262 Posts)

W. Barry Nixon is the COO, the leading background screening information portal and online worldwide directory of professional background screening firms and Suppliers to the background screening industry. He co-authored the landmark book, Background Screening & Investigations: Managing Hiring Risk from the HR and Security Perspective. He also is the publisher of award winning newsletters, The Background Buzz and The Global Background Screener, and the author of the Background Checks column in PI Magazine.

In addition, Barry is a past recipient of the elite ‘Top 25 Influential People in Security’ by Security Magazine and past Co-Chair, International Committee for the National Association for Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). He currently serves as a Global Ambassador for NAPBS.

You can contact Barry at 1-949-770-5264 or online at