Preventing Careless Data Collection from Limiting Job Prospects: Gambles, Merck & Compo v. Sterling Infosystems, Inc.
Towards Justice fights to combat the misuse of big data to harm low-wage workers. Sterling Infosystems, Inc. provides background check services to large employers, including Wal-Mart. Background or credit checks produced by companies like Sterling can reveal intensely personal information and have a significant impact on access to credit and employment prospects. Inaccuracies in background check information are common and have a particularly harsh impact on low-income people and people of color. For example, our clients allege that Sterling’s background checks provided to potential employers designated untraditional addresses, which are more likely to be used as mailing addresses by low-income people, as “high risk indicators,” including addresses that appeared to correspond with hotels, motels, rooming houses, boarding houses, or personal care facilities. Our clients also allege that systematic inaccuracies in Sterling’s background checks inaccurately suggested that the subject of the background check was transient and moved frequently between addresses. Towards Justice represents the plaintiffs with co-counsel Berger Montague and the Terrell Marshall Law Group, PLLC.