Welcome!

News Feed Item

General Information Services Announces Settlement of King v. GIS and Dowell v. GIS

Soon, the parties in King v. General Information Services and Dowell v. General Information Services will file settlement documents asking the court to approve a settlement of the claims in the cases. GIS is releasing information about this proposed settlement because GIS's refusal in the past to comment on pending litigation has resulted in misleading public statements about the cases and about GIS.

Apart from reaching a monetary resolution, the parties agreed on important changes to background reporting that they anticipate the rest of the industry will rapidly adopt. Specifically, when GIS reports a criminal case in which conviction occurred and that is more than seven years old, GIS will remove all non-conviction count information. The settlement sets out narrow exceptions where the provision of that information would be allowed. GIS will also remove any indication of count numbers in the case, so that users of the report will not infer the existence of unlisted counts.

For those who have not been following the cases, GIS's pending motion for summary judgment in the King case sets out the facts underlying the case:

  • GIS reported a single criminal case that resulted in a conviction that occurred more than seven years ago.
  • As a part of reporting the conviction in the case, GIS reported that the plaintiff pled guilty to one count in the charge and that the prosecutor declined to prosecute the other counts in the charge.
  • This information was accurate, was complete, and reflected the publicly available information at the time of the report.
  • The employer decided not to hire the plaintiff on the basis of the one offense for which she pled guilty and was convicted, not on the other offenses.

The plaintiff’s claim is that reporting the counts that the prosecutor charged but ultimately decided not to prosecute, as part of reporting the conviction in that same criminal case, violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act's prohibition on reporting "any other adverse item of information, other than records of convictions of crimes which antedates the report by more than seven years."

GIS filed a summary judgment motion based on the facts above, and the plaintiff’s lawyers responded thoroughly. The parties disagreed over the following legal issues:

  • Whether the records that GIS reported about the criminal case are "records of conviction" that the FCRA allows.
  • Whether the information about the non-convictions was adverse to the plaintiff.
  • Whether GIS acted on a reasonable interpretation of the FCRA, so was not willfully violating it.
  • Whether the FCRA violates the First Amendment’s freedom of speech by prohibiting GIS from communicating public records to someone who is not prohibited from using them.

The plaintiffs’ claims in the Dowell case are similar, the main difference being that the users of the reports in the Dowell case certified that the reports were not for employment, but were for access to secure facilities.

Continuing the cases to trial would place financial and management burdens on GIS. The plaintiffs’ lawyers have alleged a class action, in which the plaintiffs would represent everyone about whom GIS issued a report in which GIS reported non-conviction count information as part of a case in which a conviction occurred more than seven years ago. This class has approximately 50,000 reports in it. If the jury found GIS to have willfully violated the FCRA (erroneously, in GIS’s opinion), GIS would be liable for statutory damages of $100 to $1000 per report. The risk of a runaway verdict, which would absorb resources that could be better used improving GIS's services for its clients, compels GIS to settle the case. GIS does not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement, but is agreeing to pay a total of $3.4m to settle the case.

The settlement sets important standards for the consumer-reporting industry on reporting this kind of non-conviction count information. Under the settlement, when GIS reports a criminal case in which conviction occurred and that is more than seven years old, GIS will remove all non-conviction count information. GIS has already made the operating and system changes that this settlement requires to meet this standard going forward.

The settlement acknowledges that not every report of non-conviction count information over seven years old will violate the FCRA. It therefore includes specific permission to communicate non-conviction count information in the following narrow circumstances:

  • Disclosure of non-conviction count information to the subject of that information
  • Disclosure of non-conviction count information as required by court order
  • Re-communication of archived reports to the original user where the original user is not making any current decision based on the report
  • Reports that are not governed by the FCRA (for example, a report for use in a misconduct investigation that the FCRA defines as not being a consumer report)
  • Reports where an exception in the FCRA allows reporting of non-conviction count information over seven years old
  • Reports where other law pre-empts the FCRA
  • Provision of copies of government documents including non-conviction count information when needed for audit purposes imposed by law or self-regulatory regime (for example, when an employer hires a person into a regulated position)
  • Provision of non-conviction count information for use after the subject of the report requests individualized assessment of the criminal history and the dismissed counts could be relevant to the assessment (for example, under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidance on criminal history)
  • Provision of non-conviction count information to confirm the that the subject of the report fairly reported his or her own criminal history (for example, when the subject mis-identifies the count on which conviction occurred, but does fairly identify the case)
  • Reports to be used strictly outside the United States
  • Reports to other consumer reporting agencies for their use in preparing a report to an end-user

GIS believes that these exceptions in the settlement establish clear guidance for the industry for when reporting non-conviction count information is not adverse. These exceptions allow the industry to continue playing a positive role in helping employers manage risk and promoting employment of genuinely rehabilitated offenders.

About General Information Services, Inc. (GIS)

GIS has been providing services since 1966 and serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small business to Fortune 100 companies, by providing comprehensive background screening, onboarding and industry specific hiring services. Between its headquarters in Chapin, S.C. and the Western Operations Center in Dallas, Texas, GIS currently employs over 700 people. For more information, please visit www.geninfo.com.

More Stories By Business Wire

Copyright © 2009 Business Wire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Business Wire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Business Wire. Business Wire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Transformation Abstract Encryption and privacy in the cloud is a daunting yet essential task for both security practitioners and application developers, especially as applications continue moving to the cloud at an exponential rate. What are some best practices and processes for enterprises to follow that balance both security and ease of use requirements? What technologies are available to empower enterprises with code, data and key protection from cloud providers, system administrators, inside...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "IoT Now" was named media sponsor of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Silicon India has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Published in Silicon Valley, Silicon India magazine is the premiere platform for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solutions and allows IT vendors to learn about new solutions that can help grow their business.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
In this presentation, you will learn first hand what works and what doesn't while architecting and deploying OpenStack. Some of the topics will include:- best practices for creating repeatable deployments of OpenStack- multi-site considerations- how to customize OpenStack to integrate with your existing systems and security best practices.
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Security, data privacy, reliability and regulatory compliance are critical factors when evaluating whether to move business applications from in-house client hosted environments to a cloud platform. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Vandana Viswanathan, Associate Director at Cognizant, In this session, will provide an orientation to the five stages required to implement a cloud hosted solution validation strategy.
"Calligo is a cloud service provider with data privacy at the heart of what we do. We are a typical Infrastructure as a Service cloud provider but it's been designed around data privacy," explained Julian Box, CEO and co-founder of Calligo, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, discussed how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He also discussed how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.