Gregory Williams of Irmo, S.C had applied for a temporary job at Amazon in November 2013 through a staffing firm. The job would have paid him $10.50 an hour with possibility of earing him a permanent position. However, he was rejected for the position on grounds of unfavorable background reports. Williams was quick to file a suit in a federal court against Amazon and the firm this year. He was rejected for serious charges: conviction for cocaine possession and misdemeanor for an open container.

If you believe Williams is on weak grounds, you are mistaken. In his suit Williams owns up to the misdemeanor, but the cocaine charges, the suit says, are trumped up. The case stands strong on the ground that the companies denied Williams the job before showing him the report and without giving him a hearing. In this blog, we will access the role of the staffing firm.

What the Firm Could Have Done

If the firm was supposed to furnish an “investigative report” to Amazon, should it not have told the applicant or employee of the scope of the investigation? If the applicant was intimated, was it agreed upon in writing and in a stand-alone format? If the firm has overlooked this, then it must prepare itself to face the music.

It can be presumed that Amazon took a call on not hiring the applicant. The rule mandates the employer to send the applicant an intimation letter. The applicant has the right to contest the information tabled in the background check following which the background checkup agency must reinvestigate it within a period of one month. The premise of William’s suit rests on violation of this very fundamental right. If the rule book was flouted unknowingly, it fell on the firm to draw the company’s attention to the lapse.

What Staffing Firms Need to Do

As large organizations like Amazon emphasize on background checks, being candid about this with applicants makes perfect sense. Take the applicants consent in writing. This can spare firms from getting entangled in needless legal battles.

Typically, there is more to a story than what the background check reveal. It’s important for firms to reach out to the candidate for their side of the story. If convinced, firms can push for their case with employers. For instance, if the transgression is an aberration (and not repetitive), staffing firms should firmly stand behind the applicant.

It’s worth walking the extra mile for candidates rejected on flimsy grounds, because in a market replete with skill shortage, netting a great future employee can be a great help to any company.