The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) protects consumers against unscrupulous companies operating within the credit industry. The law promotes privacy, accuracy, and fairness and prevents abuse and inaccurate information on consumers’ credit reports and financial history. While the FCRA provides legal protections for all consumers, it also imposes several duties on employers who make employment decisions based on the information in consumer reports from third-party reporting agencies.
Types of FCRA Cases We Handle
When you work with HKM Employment Attorneys, you can rest assured that we will handle every aspect of your case. Our team of highly experienced employment attorneys is dedicated to protecting employees from their employer’s non-compliance with the FCRA. We work to provide our clients with efficient and up-to-date legal representation by providing advice and counsel on a wide range of FCRA issues, including the following:
- Auditing an employer’s application and onboarding forms to find any potential FCRA violations
- Gathering evidence when an employer takes adverse action against an applicant or employee based on information in a consumer report
- Reviewing the employer’s procedures and policies for complying with the FCRA and finding any areas in which they do not comply
- Determining whether the employer failed to provide adequate notice to the employee that it would be obtaining a consumer report
- Representing clients in individual and class action lawsuits involving employer FCRA violations
Providing Aggressive, Experienced Legal Counsel
The FCRA is one of the most complex federal laws, and it imposes strict procedural requirements for employers who obtain background checks. Different jurisdictions apply the law differently. As a result, even sophisticated companies with legal teams have been known to make procedural mistakes and pay millions of dollars. If your rights have been violated as an employee, the HKM Employment Attorneys are here to help. We have an in-depth understanding of the FCRA, including how it is applied in our jurisdiction. After we carefully review your case, we will help you determine whether you have a valid claim for compensation.
When Does the FCRA Apply to Employers?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act applies anytime an employer obtains background information on a prospective or current employee from a third-party consumer reporting agency. This information can be obtained as a consumer or investigative consumer report. The number of class action lawsuits brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act against employers has dramatically increased over the last decade.
The FCRA is a technical and complex piece of legislation, which can make it difficult for employers to comply with every aspect of the statute. Due to the large volume of applicants and employees screened by large companies annually, non-compliance can affect thousands of applicants or current employees. As a result, the class size of potential class action lawsuits can be substantial.
Cincinnati Employers Must Follow FCRA Regulations
When an employer seeks a consumer report for an employee or potential employee, the employer must follow the regulations of the FCRA. The first step is for the employer to disclose to the job applicant or current employee that it will obtain a consumer report. The employer must obtain the employee’s written consent to do so. Next, the employer must disclose to the applicant or employee that it is considering taking adverse action based on what is found in the consumer report. Adverse action might include rejecting the applicant for employment or promotion.
During the second stage, the employer must provide the job applicant or employee with a copy of the report and a written summary of the individual’s rights under the FCRA. The employer needs to give the job applicant or employee enough time to correct information in the consumer report that must be included or corrected. The last step is for the employer to notify the employee or job applicants after taking adverse action based on the information found in the credit report.
Investigative Consumer Reports on Employees and Potential Employees
Some employers and potential employers may go beyond requesting a consumer report and pursue an investigative consumer report on a job applicant or employee. These types of reports are more invasive regarding employees’ privacy. They may involve personal interviews with the person’s friends, neighbors, and associates and detailed questions about their reputation, mode of living, personal characteristics, and character.
Employers must meet certain legal obligations when pursuing this type of in-depth report. They also need to give the employee or potential employee written notice that they may request or have requested an in-depth report. They must provide detailed information about the nature and scope of the report upon request from the employee or potential employee.
Penalties for Employers Who Violated the FCRA
The FCRA carries significant penalties for employees who do not comply with the law. Employers who are found to have violated the FCRA face civil liability. When an employer negligently fails to comply with the FCRA, it may be liable to the employee for actual damages plus legal costs and attorneys’ fees. When an employee is found to have willfully violated the FCRA, the employer may be liable for additional punitive damages. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has the legal authority to penalize employers who are found to have violated the FCRA. They can find employers thousands of dollars per violation.
Discuss Your Case With a Cincinnati Fair Credit Reporting Act Attorney
Did your employer or potential employer obtain a consumer credit report? Did they take adverse action against you because of the information in the report? If so, you may have a valid Fair Credit Reporting Act claim. If your employer or potential employer fails to follow all of the procedural requirements and provides you adequate notice, they might be liable under the FCRA. You may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages, and your employer or potential employer may be required to hire you. You only have a limited amount of time to pursue damages, so it is essential that you contact an attorney as soon as possible.