TIME justice

Data Company Mislabels Job Applicants as Sex Offenders, Gets Fined

The Federal Trade Commission building is seen in Washington
The Federal Trade Commission building in Washington D.C. The agency slammed a data broker for labeling job applicants as sex offenders this week. Gary Cameron—Reuters

A government agency hit a data broker with fines for providing inaccurate information to prospective employers. InfoTrack, it said, violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by labeling some applicants as registered sex offenders

As if the job market wasn’t tough enough. On Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission hit data broker InfoTrack with fines for providing prospective employers with grossly inaccurate information about applicants.

According to the FTC, the data broker violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) on numerous instances by providing false and misleading information that in some cases labeled job applicants as registered sex offenders, when in fact they weren’t.

The failure to provide credible data due to an inability to conduct “reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of consumer report information obtained from sex offender registry records” likely resulted in people not being hired, according to the government agency.

“Data brokers that operate as consumer reporting agencies have a responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the information they sell for decisions about whether to hire someone, extend them credit, rent them an apartment, or insure them,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a press release.

The FTC imposed a fine of $1 million against InfoTrack and its owner; however, only $60,000 of the penalty will be imposed because of the firm’s inability to pay.

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