California-based HireRight has been compiling driver dossiers since 2008, but its history has not been without legal difficulty because inaccuracies in its reporting have caused drivers potential jobs.
The company compiles 2 million employment history records every year, but strictly stays away from investigating potential hires, according to chief executive John Fennelly, who has been at HireRight’s helm for two years.
Trucking companies say the service is compelling especially in a business that suffers from high employee turnover. The trucking sector posted an 86% turnover rate in the first half of the year, a significant increase over the 50% rate in 2009, according to data from American Trucking Association. The background checks become even more important as huge operators receive thousands of applications a week.
Clients purchase the reports for $50 a pop and many find it effective in filtering applicants before operators put them in control of vehicles that weigh up to 40 tons and ferry millions of dollars’ worth of cargo.
However, the system is not without fault. In 2011, HireRight settled a class action suit with 650,000 drivers over accusations of failure to properly notify and provide copies of reports to job applicants, and failing to resolve disputes.
The following year, the company had a run-in with the Federal Trade Commission and settled for another $2.6 million for failing to reasonably assure the accuracy of the information it provides to employers. HireRight had to deal with 11 more suits since then.
These kinks are proving to be an employment bane for truck drivers, as a single unfavorable incident listed in these background checks could cost them a job.
In response, Fennelly sai the company is revising policy to be more helpful to job seekers, specifically by facilitating background dispute reports online and enhancing customer service.