Background Check Errors. For employees this presents several issues: (1) lack of a job, (2) return to the job search (3) personal disappointment, (4) uncertainty and confusion.
Proper Background Checks. Thankfully, there are rules and regulations that apply to background checks. First, the employer must have the potential employee's permission to conduct the check. If the potential employee is denied employment based upon a background check, a pre-adverse action letter must be sent to the potential employee along with a copy of the background check and a summary of the consumer rights laws under the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA" or "Act"). The purpose of the letter is to allow the potential employee a reasonable amount of time to address the issues related to the background. Finally, the employer must send an adverse action letter with the same attachments in the pre-adverse letter. It is important to note that both letters must include the contact information for the background screening provider.
Shockingly, many employers do not operate in concert with the process shown above. Violations of these laws can harm potential employees, but they are not completely helpless. Employers that violate the FCRA can face penalties.
Penalties for Violations. The penalties for willfully violating the above rules are as follows: (1)actual damages between $100.00 and $1,000.00, or (2) punitive damages as the court may allow; and (3) when successful, the costs of the lawsuit together with reasonable attorney’s fees as determined by the court.
If you or someone you know has been denied a job because of an erroneous background check. Please contact our office and ask to speak to someone about the FCRA.