Employment Background Checks

Claims Against Employers

Whether a potential employer performs a background check in order to qualify someone for a job, or a current employer performs one to consider one for a promotion, the potential employer has legal obligations to the applicant. These obligations can be found in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. A failure to follow these regulations can render the employer liable to the applicant. Here is what an employer must do when performing a background check for employment purposes:

> The employer must provide a form to you that discloses that a background report will be obtained and reviewed.

That is, the employer must provide something in writing of which the applicant is entitled to have a copy, that warns of the fact that a background report will be run. This disclosure form must only make the disclosure and can have no other language on it. The employer CANNOT have language on the form that says that they, or anyone else, will not be held liable for a report that contains incorrect information. They also cannot have the applicant sign away any rights they may have under the law on that form.

> If the employer receives negative information about the applicant that may cause them to refuse the application, then before they reject the application, they must provide a copy of the report that was reviewed, and instruct the applicant on how to dispute any information that is inaccurate.

The employer cannot just turn someone down and not show you why. A person is entitled to know why, to see why, and to go dispute the incorrect information. If the information gets removed, there is still a chance to get the job.

> If the employer determines that they do not want to hire the person based upon the report, they must say so in writing, and provide the reasons for the rejection in writing.

When adverse action is taken on a consumer report, such as a background report, the employer must provide notice in writing that either states the reasons for the rejection or provides direction on how to obtain those reasons. The employer must also disclose the name of the company that provided the background information on you, provide the address, and provide information that advises of a person's rights to a free background report from that company, and how to dispute the information on the report, if it is inaccurate.