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Background Checks Prone to Mistakes

In a recent case highlighting the inaccuracy of background checks, Darlene T. Martinez was confused with Darlene Foster Ramirez, who was found guilty in 2009 of dangerous-drug possession in Navajo County. The employer offering Martinez a job then rescinded their offer, and Martinez was left scrambling to remove another person’s felony from her record and find a new job. Legal experts say background checks can be filled with errors due to incomplete databases and confused identities. These errors can be difficult to fix, costing applicants job opportunities and disrupting livelihoods. Martinez filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Phoenix-based company that did the search, Universal Background Screening, alleging that it failed to notify her about the damaging report and that it didn’t follow the necessary procedures to ensure accuracy. In addition to different last names, Martinez and Ramirez also have different birthdays. The suit seeks undetermined damages for violating the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. Universal Background Screening has denied any wrongdoing, saying that it rarely makes mistakes and that the company followed all necessary guidelines and protocols to ensure accuracy.

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