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Suspected employee thefts tracked on vast retailer databases

The New York Times reported Tuesday that retailers nationwide have amassed "vast databases of workers accused of stealing and are using that information to keep employees from working again in the industry." Tens of thousands of workers are thus branded thieves for life -- often without knowing it, usually without any form of conviction -- in databases that last for years. The Times noted that the databases are used by retail giants including Target, CVS and Family Dollar to screen potential hires. Via The Times:

[T]he databases, which are legal, are facing scrutiny from labor lawyers and federal regulators, who worry they are so sweeping that innocent employees can be harmed. The lawyers say workers are often coerced into confessing, sometimes when they have done nothing wrong, without understanding that they will be branded as thieves.

The Federal Trade Commission has fielded complaints about the databases and is examining whether they comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a federal law aimed at curbing inaccurate consumer information and giving consumers more control, said Anthony Rodriguez, a staff lawyer at the agency.

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