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Viewers respond to NewsHour Weekend’s report on background check accuracy

August 30, 2014 at 3:25 PM EST
Viewers respond to a signature report from Saturday, Aug. 23 on the struggles some job seekers face over inaccurate background screenings. Hari Sreenivasan reads your comments in Viewers Like You.
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TRANSCRIPT

HARI SREENIVASAN: And now to Viewers Like You. We heard from many of you about last Saturday’s signature report on the accuracy of background checks.

Jack Devine wrote us: “I have been in business for myself for 25 years. Once you hire a person, you become responsible for everything that individual does while working for you. Background checks can save you a lot of trouble and money. Trouble caused by dishonest people you hire.”

Francis Helfand had this to say: “Background checks, as in criminal background, are very important for those entrusted with caring for vulnerable people and perhaps animals. I am strongly opposed to credit checks and other highly personal inquiries that invade an individual’s right to privacy.”

Leigh Griffith told us: ” I had a DWI when I was 17. I am now 45. I still note it on my application as I am afraid they would find it in a background check and that would disqualify me for the position. But do they disqualify me automatically because I admit I had a DWI? Impossible to know.”

Jackie Ryan offered this: “Me and my husband both have criminal records. We are law abiding citizens who have paid the price for our crimes. However, we will never be able to get better than manual labor jobs due to discrimination.”

But Johnny Medina had a different take: “Considering that I have been hampered by this for years, I can speak on it. Yes, it is okay. I brought this trouble on myself.”

Then there are cases like Kevin Jones, who, as we reported, lost a job offer because he was mistaken for another Kevin Jones.

Beverly Marler Sowa wrote: “Google your name and see how many people with the same name show up. The chances of mixing you up with someone else are huge.”

As always, let us know what you think of our stories on Twitter, Facebook or at newshour.pbs.org.