There has been a rise in the number of companies violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in regard to background checks and disclosures of applicants for hire. When companies fail to follow the strict requirements of the FCRA, applicants may be entitled to damages.
Under the FCRA, employers must provide applicants with prior notice that they intend to perform a background check. The employer must obtain written authorization from the applicant, and this must be a stand-alone document with only language about the disclosure of the background check and the applicant authorization. It cannot contain any other language. If the employer decides to not hire the applicant based on the background check, the employer must provide written notice, a copy of the background check, information about the credit reporting agency who ran the check, and a list of the applicant’s rights. This includes the right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of the report and the right to receive an additional free report within 60 days.
Companies that violate FCRA are subject to fines and penalties. The disclosure forms are often referred to as “consent” forms—any employer that decides to subject applicants to background checks must follow all of the rules under FCRA, and review hiring policies to make sure it is compliant. Some of these forms and applications are completely electronic and filed online, but they still must conform with the FCRA.
Can I File a Lawsuit Over a Background Screening?
Last December, a proposed class action lawsuit was filed in Florida against Whole Foods Market Group Inc. over allegations that the company used consumer reports while screening applicants and did not follow the requirements of the FCRA.
The lawsuit alleged that Whole Foods did not supply applicants with a document explaining that the company may obtain consumer reports about them. In addition, the lawsuit claimed that the company included unlawful liability waivers in its background checks. Similar class action lawsuits have been filed against CVS, Domino’s Pizza, K-Mart and Disney.
Our firm is reviewing cases where a prospective employer violated the applicant’s rights under the FCRA. If you applied to a company who performed a background check without the FCRA requirements reviewed above, speak to Gary S. Graifman, Esq. or Randy J. Perlmutter of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. In addition, we represent victims of wage theft, overtime violations, discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace.
Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. – Class Action Lawyers