Has your credit history been incorrectly reported? Has your employer conducted a background check on you without your permission? Your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act may have been violated.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have specific privacy rights. You are entitled to fair and accurate credit reporting and any report that does not depict you fairly or accurately would be a violation of your right.
The FCRA imposes an obligation on the credit reporting agency that compiles a report on you. This obligation entails the duty to correctly, accurately, and fairly report on your credit.
The reports considered under the FCRA are not limited to just reports on your credit. They also include any background checks made on you by an interested person such as your employer. A background check can include reports of your criminal or credit history as well as interviews with people close to you for the purpose of checking up on your character.
This sort of report qualifies as a “consumer report” under the FCRA. The obligations imposed under the FCRA are strict and even when you have not suffered any loss as a result of the unfair or inaccurate report, you may still be entitled to damages.
Typical violations of the FCRA by these credit reporting agencies include:
- Providing a report that shows various accounts that do not belong to you
- Providing a report that shows closed accounts that should have been written off
- Including arrests, dismissed charges, or civil judgments older than seven years in the report
- Providing inaccurate reports. For instance, one that has someone else’s criminal history.
Background Checks by Employers
A lot of employers usually have a background check carried out on prospective employees. This check is often carried out by a third party. In carrying out these checks, both your employer and the credit reporting agency are subject to strict obligations under the FCRA.
The obligations of your employer under the FCRA include the following:
- Disclosing your rights under the FCRA: Your employer is obligated to inform you that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes. If the background check includes personal interviews, you must be informed that you can question the nature and scope of the investigation.
- Obtaining your authorization before conducting the background check: Your employer is not allowed to go snooping in your background without your express authorization. If he or she fails to get your consent, he or she is in violation of the FCRA.
- The disclosure of rights must “stand alone”: Your employer must make the disclosure as to your rights in a document that is separate from other job-related documents. It must stand alone. The authorization form may be included in the disclosure form though.
- Notification if the background check may result in “adverse action”: This means that your employer must notify you if the report will be a basis for denying you the job or terminating your employment. He must provide written notice along with a copy of the relevant background report.
What Remedies Do You Have?
If your employer fails to attain to the standard in the FCRA or if the credit reporting agency provides an unfair or inaccurate report of you, you would be entitled to damages. You do not have to lose your job in order to take legal action against either or both of them.
Have Questions About Your Rights Under the FCRA? Speak to an Experienced FCRA Attorney in Kansas City
If you suspect your rights were violated under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, reach out to HKM Employment Attorneys today. Our legal team stands ready to help and provide assistance.