Beware of the Background Check “Police”

In the past, we have discussed the increased dangers of conducting background checks on employees and potential employees, although background checks are important to any business seeking to hire quality applicants. In the last few weeks, two large class action lawsuits have been settled for many millions of dollars, based on alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) as it relates to background check disclosures to applicants and employees. Now, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the federal agency that enforces the FCRA, has issued Background Checks: Tips For Job Applicants and Employees with tips for the potential FCRA plaintiff who wants to sue his/her employer or potential employer. The FTC’s guide states the following, in pertinent part:

Some employers check into your background before deciding whether to hire you or keep you on the job. When they do a background check, you have legal rights under federal law. Depending on where you live, your city or state may offer additional protections. It’s important to know whom to contact if you think an employer has broken the law related to background checks, and an equally good idea to check with someone who knows the laws where you live.

The lesson here is that if you have not updated your application and background check procedures, it’s a very good idea to evaluate your processes and update them now. You can find tips for employers at the FTC website.

If you have any questions or need assistance with this or any other legal issue, please do not hesitate to call the ScottHulse Labor & Employment team.

This Information is provided as a courtesy – not as legal advice.
Please know that we are writing you and raising the above issues as a courtesy and for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for legal advice concerning a particular situation that may be affecting your business.

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