How to Spot an Illegal Background Check

Employers use background checks to review the educational, financial, criminal and workplace records of job applicants and employees. Many companies use a third-party service to run a background check on a potential candidate. These third-party companies are required to follow Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) guidelines. Under the FCRA, a background check is called a “consumer report.” Whether it is a third-party consumer reporting agency, or it is your employer directly, there are many ways that a company can be sued for conducting an illegal background check.

How Do I Know If My Employer is Illegally Conducting a Background Check?

Employers should perform the following actions while running background checks:

  • Providing disclosure. Your employer is required to make a clear disclosure, in writing, to you as the employee or an applicant that a background check is going to be run on for specific employment purposes. This should be its own separate document.
  • Legal authorization. Your employer must get your authorization to have a report created.
  • Giving pre-adverse notice. If your employer decides that he or she wants to take adverse action against you as the employee or applicant based on information you gave in your disclosure report, your employer must notify you of this fact and give further disclosures. An employer is also prohibited from refusing to hire you or deciding to fire you based on your gender, race, religious beliefs, or any other personal information you give.

If you believe that someone has obtained a background check on you illegally, or you believe that the information in your report is inaccurate or incomplete, you should first contact an employment law firm who can give you the proper legal advice moving forward. Call CounselOne today to speak with a consumer protection and employment attorney.

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