Have you been denied employment on the basis of a criminal background check or credit check? If so, it is important to know your rights.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) sets national requirements for employment background checks obtained through a third party. If requesting a background check, employers must also provide job applicants with a copies of the “Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA” document.
Know and Protect Your Rights
Employers are limited in the opportunity to lawfully obtain background checks and credit reports on employees and job applicants. The FCRA requires two things of employers seeking background checks:
- Employers must get permission from the applicant or employee to obtain a background check or credit check. The authorization form must be a separate document, not buried in the fine print of a job application or other document. This authorization document must not ask employees to release any claims or waive any rights. The law is very specific about the requirements for the authorization form and many employers do not obtain proper authorization;
- Employers must provide job applicants and employees with a copy of the background check or credit report before taking any adverse action such as not hiring someone, demoting someone, or firing someone. This ensures that employees and applicants have the chance to challenge inaccuracies in the report before adverse action is taken.
Under the FCRA, employers who willfully violate these requirements are liable for actual damages, punitive damages, and statutory penalties of up to $1,000 per violation.
Many employers, including some of the largest companies, routinely violate the FCRA by obtaining background checks and credit reports without proper authorization.
If you believe that you are the victim of an improper background check or that your employer improperly used your credit report, then we may be able to help. Contact our consumer attorneys to learn more.
No, it is not legal to run a background check without getting the subject’s permission first.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that protects consumers by regulating credit reports and background reports. The FCRA provides important rights to job applicants and employees. The FCRA requires that background reports be accurate, that employers have authorization from the employee to obtain the report, and that employers give employees notice before taking any action against them.
If an employer violated your FCRA rights, you may be able to file a claim to recover damages. We can help. Call us at 800-400-1098 to discuss your rights.
Disclosure and Consent Requirements Under the FCRA
Employers often conduct background checks on job applicants, including a credit check. Employers must notify you in advance if they intend to obtain a background report concerning you.
The FCRA requires pre-hire background checks only when an employer has first provided a “clear and conspicuous written disclosure” and the applicant authorizes the report. Employers usually provide these disclosures for employees or applicants in job application packages or during job interviews.
The disclosure and consent form should not contain other disclosures or seek consent for any other purposes.
What is “adverse action” under the FCRA?
If the employer plans to take “adverse action” against the job applicant or employee based on the report, then the employer must notify the applicant in advance of taking any such action. Adverse action includes:
Denial of employment
Any other decision by the employer that “adversely affects any current or prospective employee.”
Before taking any adverse action, the employer must provide the employee with written notice, a copy of the background report, and a written summary of rights.
Protect and Exercise Your Rights if an Employer Violated the FCRA
The FCRA affords you the right to file a claim seeking damages if an employer violates your rights. You may have a claim if:
An employer failed to properly disclose to you that they were obtaining your credit report
An employer obtained your background report without your authorization
An employer failed to provide you with written notice of adverse action before declining to hire you
You were not hired because of mistakes on your background report
Call for a Free Consultation with a Florida Credit Check Lawyer
Have you been denied employment because of a background check? Do you believe that your FCRA rights were violated? If so, you may be able to protect your rights and obtain damages in court.
We’d like to help you to protect your rights and fight for fair compensation. Contact our Fair Credit Reporting Act attorneys at 800-400-1098.