Illegal Criminal Record Checks

Held Back Because of Your Criminal Background?

Illegal Criminal Record Checks

Can’t Get a Job, Apartment or Loan?

If so, you may be entitled to compensation.

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Effects of Criminal Records

Reports show that as many as one in three Americans have some type of criminal record. A criminal record can seriously hamper your ability to find a job. Most employers nowadays run criminal background checks when making hiring decisions. Property managers, banks, and automobile dealerships also routinely run background checks on applicants. Ultimately, the results of these background checks determine whether you get a job, earn a livelihood, and can raise a family.

This is unfortunate. It is not uncommon for prospective employers to dredge up criminal convictions from years, even decades, ago when denying an application for employment. And the offenses a person was convicted with often have no bearing on whether someone will be a good employee, tenant, or capable of repaying a loan. Background reports often also contain inaccurate, old, or irrelevant information. Sometimes a criminal record will include offenses committed by an entirely different person, usually with a similar name. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has warned that the wholesale denial of applicants with criminal records may constitute discrimination on the basis of race because blacks and Hispanics are arrested in numbers disproportionate to their representation in the general population.

The Use of Criminal Records Is Not Unfettered

Federal and state laws regulate when someone can obtain your criminal record for employment, housing, insurance, and loan purposes. Many states and cities have passed “ban the box” laws, prohibiting prospective employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal convictions or obtaining a background report before a conditional offer of employment is made. And federal law requires prospective employers to provide adequate disclosures both before requesting a background report and before taking adverse action based on the report. If a prospective employer wants to deny your application, for example, he or she usually has to give you a copy of the report beforehand and a chance to correct any inaccuracies.

If you have been denied employment, housing, insurance, or a loan because of your criminal background, you may be entitled to compensation. A federal law regulating background checks called the Fair Credit Reporting Act provides for statutory damages of up to $1,000 per violation, and you may be entitled to more depending on the applicable law and your damages. Depending on the circumstances, you may also be entitled to reinstatement to a job.

Call the background check attorneys at CounselOne for a free consultation to see if you’re owed compensation.

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