A number of companies, including Kmart, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and Dominos, have been sued by employees and job applicants for failing to comply with federal background check laws. These lawsuits allege that the companies violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a federal law that says companies must follow certain procedures when requesting and using background checks for employment purposes.
If you’ve had a background check run for employment purposes or believe information contained in your report prevented you from getting a job, get in touch with us using our contact form. You may be able to file a lawsuit against the company that ran your background check or denied you employment.
The FCRA provides you with a number of privacy rights when a background check is conducted for employment purposes. Whether you are applying for a new job, vying for a promotion or undergoing a background check for another employment-related reason, the employer must comply with this law. If not, you may be able to sue the employer who requested the background check or the company who provided the background check for violating federal law.
Companies are required to obtain written permission from you before performing a background check, and must provide a disclosure – separate from other any documents (e.g. employment applications) – stating that a background check may be conducted for employment purposes.
Before an employer decides to fire you or deny you a job or promotion because of information in your background check, it must:
The employer must provide this information to you – and time to dispute the information in your report – before they can fire you or deny you a job/promotion. If an employer notifies you by phone or otherwise that you are not being hired or being fired based on the results of your background check before giving you this information, they may have violated the FCRA.
After firing you or denying you a job or promotion, the employer must:
Background checks can contain a variety of information that can be used by an employer to make employment-related decisions. Certain types of information, however, cannot be reported and a background check containing this information may violate federal law.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act also prohibits companies who provide background checks from reporting information that is considered misleading or inaccurate. Such information can include:
If a background check company has reported inaccurate or misleading information about you to an employer or landlord, you may be entitled to compensation. Get in touch with us to learn more.
While a number of employers carry out background checks to determine whether someone should be hired or promoted, employers cannot use background check information to discriminate against an employee or job applicant on the basis of race. In fact, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been reviewing its stance on the use of arrest records during hiring processes following concerns that African Americans and Hispanics face discrimination under "blanket" hiring policies that exclude applicants with past convictions.
Several employers have already faced lawsuits that claimed their hiring policies were discriminatory. For instance, a lawsuit against Pepsi resulted in a $3.13 million settlement to resolve claims that the company discriminated against African Americans in its background checks. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found that Pepsi disproportionately excluded African American applicants, as the company’s hiring policy did not permit those who had been arrested to be hired for permanent jobs, even if they were never actually convicted of any crime.
If you were subject to an illegal or discriminatory background check, a class action lawsuit could help you:
If you think you have been denied a job or a promotion because of your background check – including criminal history – it may be time to consider a lawsuit. If you’d like to learn more, start by telling us your story. You can use this form to get in touch.
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