Background Reports and the Fair Credit Reporting Act

FCRA Applies to Background Reports by Potential Employers

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that applies to credit reports.  The FCRA was enacted to protect the accuracy and privacy of consumer information in consumer credit reporting agency files.  The definition of “credit report” includes what is commonly known as an employee background check.  If you believe that you have been denied employment because of either an incomplete or inaccurate report, please contact our law firm for a free consultation.  Employers must ensure that applicants are aware that the background check may be used for employment purposes and must agree to such use and applicants must be notified by the employer if information contained in the background reports results in any negative employment decision.

  • Prior to ordering background checks, applicants must be notified in writing that the organization may obtain a consumer report for employment purposes. The FCRA requires this notice to be a separate, clear and conspicuous document. This is true even if it is part of an employment application packet.
  • In addition, employers must obtain applicants’ or employees’ written authorization before ordering background checks. Under the FCRA, the authorization does not have to be a separate document, but the notice and disclosure must still be provided to applicants as a separate, distinct document.

Typical background screening companies include First Advantage Background Services Corp., Sentry Link, InfoMart,  and Intelli Corp.  There are a host of potential defendants.

Some additional intake questions we will ask you to answer include:

  • Did you authorize a background check in the job application process (electronic or paper document)
  • Was your background mentioned as a reason you did not get the job, e.g. criminal history, education history, driving history
  • If so was the background information inaccurate (e.g. wrong person, wrong charge) or incomplete (e.g. graduated with degree and says graduated without mention of degree
  • Did you see the background check?
  • Did you see it before you were told you didn’t get the job or were you given the opportunity to review it before being told?

The FCRA provides that if the employer or the background check company violates the FCRA you would be entitled to actual money damages, statutory damages, punitive damages plus your reasonable attorney fees and costs.  Artim Law can handle your case without any out of pockets costs to you.  Call our office at 412-823-8003 to speak to an attorney.

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