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
Cloud promises the agility required by today’s digital businesses. As organizations adopt cloud based infrastructures and services, their IT resources become increasingly dynamic and hybrid in nature. Managing these require modern IT operations and tools. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Raj Sundaram, Senior Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies, will discuss how to modernize your IT operations in order to proactively manage your hybrid cloud and IT environments. He will be sharing bes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EARP Integration will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EARP Integration is a passionate software house. Since its inception in 2009 the company successfully delivers smart solutions for cities and factories that start their digital transformation. EARP provides bespoke solutions like, for example, advanced enterprise portals, business intelligence systems an...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi LTD., will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) will be featuring the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio. This is the industry’s only offering that allows organizations to bring together object storage, file sync and share, cloud storage gateways, and sophisticated search and...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs ofte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry’s single source for the cloud. Fusion’s advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs oft...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
The 21st International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
SYS-CON Events announced today that WineSOFT will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Based in Seoul and Irvine, WineSOFT is an innovative software house focusing on internet infrastructure solutions. The venture started as a bootstrap start-up in 2010 by focusing on making the internet faster and more powerful. WineSOFT’s knowledge is based on the expertise of TCP/IP, VPN, SSL, peer-to-peer, mob...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real r...