Background Checks – Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

Employers often use background checks, also referred to as a consumer report, in screening employment applicants and determining whether to promote an employee. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulates the use of consumer reports when employers request background checks on employees. It was designed to protect privacy rights and hold consumer reporting agencies accountable for accurately and fairly reporting information. Under the FCRA there are specific rules that a potential employer must follow in obtaining your permission to run a background check.

When you apply for a job and that prospective employer plans to obtain a consumer report or background check, it must

  • provide a clear and conspicuous disclosure in writing that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes;
  • obtain your permission for the report in writing; and
  • the disclosure must be in writing in a document that consists solely of the disclosure and should not include any kind of waiver or release of liability for obtaining the report.

If you have applied for employment and a background report was obtained without proper disclosures and authorization, contact us for a free consultation.

For an employer or potential employer to take an adverse action, such as not hiring you or terminating your employment, because of information contained within a background report, it must provide a notice informing you that employment may be denied or terminated because of information containing in the background report. The employer must also provide a copy of the report and a summary of rights under the FCRA and provide information such as what actions to take if the background report information is inaccurate.

If you were wrongfully terminated or not hired when applying for a job because of inaccurate information contained in your background check, or you were not provided with a notice that employment was denied or terminated because of information contained in your background report, contact us for a free consultation.