When a specific law requires a background check, that same law usually outlines the rights employees have. These rights may not necessarily follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the background screening law that governs "consumer reports. Law enforcement agencies or state licensing authorities may have direct access to state and federal criminal records databases, which many private employers do not have.
A government-run database is not a consumer reporting agency and is not subject to the FCRA. Whether you have a right to get your report or make corrections may be spelled out in the background check forms you signed or perhaps on the agency's website. However, individuals are generally allowed to access their own criminal records files maintained by a state or federal agency.
The federal Privacy Act also gives you the right to request records maintained about you. To check federal criminal records, contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I am an independent contractor. What are my rights if the employer wants to do a background check? The Federal Trade Commission staff has issued a couple of advisory opinion letters about contractors and the Fair Credit Reporting Act:.
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Does a nonprofit organization have to follow the FCRA when screening volunteers? Yes, if the investigation is conducted by a consumer reporting agency.
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Organizations whose employees and volunteers work closely with children, the elderly, or the disabled are most likely to conduct background checks. Read our guide on volunteer background checks. Does the FCRA require that I receive notice and give authorization at any time a background check is obtained? The FCRA allows a "blanket" authorization. This means a one-time notice and authorization is sufficient to allow the employer to obtain reports at any time during employment.
The requirement to get authorization may, however, be different under state law. In California , for example, notice and authorization is required "at any time before a report is procured. The FCRA imposes specific obligations on employment screening companies. An employer may also ask you to take a pre-employment physical. If so, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires such requests be made only after a job offer.
In both of these situations, the applicant would not have the ability to obtain a copy of the background check to find out what negative information it contained. Where do I go to complain about an employer or a background screening company that does not follow the FCRA? Complaints should be filed with the Federal Trade Commission. Your state may also have a law that applies to employment background checks. In that case, file a complaint with your state Attorney General as well. The FCRA includes a private right of action. Consumers may sue for violations. Attorneys who specialize in employment law may be located through the National Employment Lawyers' Association.
State and county bar associations are another resource for referrals. First, talk to the employer. Although the FCRA does not require the employer to hold the job for you, a sympathetic employer may be willing to give you a chance to correct any errors. Next, file a dispute with the employment screening company that made the error.
You may first call the company and tell them about the error. Then follow-up with a written dispute letter pointing out the errors in the report. Send your letter certified mail, return receipt requested. Along with your letter you may submit information that verifies your side of the story.
For example, you may have a common name. The background check report may show a criminal record for someone with your first and last name but with a different middle initial. The process for disputing errors in an employment report is the same as the process for disputing errors in your credit report.
After you file your dispute, the screening company has 30 days to investigate. If, during that 30 day period you file additional information, the investigation may be extended by another 15 days. So, 45 days is the maximum time allowed for considering your dispute. If information in your background screening report cannot be verified, it must be deleted.
You must receive written notice of the results of the investigation not later than five business days after the investigation is completed. You can ask the screening company to send the revised report to anyone who has received an employment report about you within the last two years. You also have the right to receive another free copy of your report within 60 days. I want to file a lawsuit against a background check company for reporting inaccurate information on my background check, because it cost me my job. What should I do?
What happens on a pre-employment background check?
You should contact an employment or consumer lawyer to discuss your situation. An employment lawyer can be found through the National Employment Lawyers Association. A consumer attorney can be found through the National Association of Consumer Advocates. This is an investigation conducted by a third-party your employer may hire if the employer suspects you of:. Noncompliance with the rules of a self-regulatory organization that, for example, oversees the securities and commodity futures industry.
It means your employer does not have to give you notice and get your permission to conduct a misconduct investigation. Like other inquiries covered by the FCRA, this only applies if the employer hires an outside party to conduct the investigation. It also means you will not receive a notice of your rights as others who are subject to a standard employment background check normally would.
If, at the end of the investigation, the employer decides to take some action against you, you receive the "adverse action" notice only after the action has been taken. You will receive only a "summary" of the investigation report, but not the more detailed report that may include sources.
Any federal or state officer, agency or department or any officer, agency or department of a unit of general local government. Any self-regulatory organization with regulatory authority over the activities of the employer or the employee. A government agency, in accordance with an existing FCRA section that allows a consumer reporting agency to disclose personal identifying information to a government agency.
Not under the FCRA dispute procedure. The usual protections that apply to a "consumer report" conducted for employment purposes do not apply to workplace misconduct investigations. If you find yourself in this position, you will probably want to seek the advice of an employment law attorney. If you are going to be on the job market, you can take steps to prepare for a background check.
Order a copy of your credit report. Another individual's name may appear on your credit report. This happens when someone mistakenly writes down the wrong Social Security number on a credit application causing that name to appear on your file. Or you might be a victim of identity theft. Check court records.
The Complete Guide to Background Checks
If you have an arrest record or have been involved in court cases, go to the county where this took place and inspect the files. Make sure the information is correct and up to date.
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Many employers ask on their application if you were ever convicted of a crime. Or they might word the question to ask whether you have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. Typically, the application says you do not have to divulge a case that was expunged or dismissed, or that was a minor traffic violation. Reporting agencies often report felony convictions when the consumer truly believes the crime was reduced to a misdemeanor, or that it was reported as a misdemeanor conviction when the consumer thought the charge was reduced to an infraction.
Court records are not always updated correctly. For example, a signature that was needed to reduce the charges might not have been obtained or recorded by the court. Don't rely on what someone else may have told you.
What should be included in a pre-employment background check? | InfoTrack
If you think the conviction was expunged or dismissed, get a certified copy of your report from the court. Check DMV records. Request a copy of your driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles, especially if you are applying for a job that involves driving.