Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly. If you want to communicate with me confidentially as Donna Ballman, Florida lawyer rather than as Donna Ballman, blogger, my firm's website is here.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

What Can I Do If I Lost A Job Due To A Background Check?

 If your employer or potential employer is going to run a credit check, then they must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This requirement covers anything the employer is getting from a consumer reporting agency that covers personal and credit characteristics, character, general reputation, or lifestyle, but not the HR department running your name on Google, checking out your Facebook page, or reading your blog. So it depends on who did the background check.

If they are going to run a background check that is considered to be a credit check, and they are hiring an outside agency to do it, they have to give you a document solely for the purpose of telling you they intend to conduct a credit check. It was possibly shoved in with a stack of papers they handed you with your application or pre-employment forms. They need your permission in writing.

They must also tell you if they’re about to deny a job, reassign, or terminate you because of what was disclosed in a credit report. They must give you written notice with a copy of your credit report and a document called "A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.”

Once the employer decides to use the report against you, they must then give another notice, this time telling you the name of the agency that did the credit report, saying the agency isn’t the one that made the adverse decision, and telling you how to dispute the information in the report with the agency. This notice can be verbal or in writing, unless you’re a trucker, in which case it must be written.

If an employer runs your credit history though a third party agency without permission, they’ve broken the law. 

But let's say they run the background check themselves. They check your social media and find out, for instance, your race, that you have a disability, that you have a family history of a genetic disease, or that you're pregnant. They aren't allowed to turn you down for a job or fire you on that basis. That's illegal discrimination, and you might have a discrimination case.

If they find an arrest or conviction record, then there are some states that don't allow them to use this against you. Florida is not one of those states. EEOC has taken the position that a blanket refusal to hire based on criminal records can be discrimination, but I haven't seen any cases supporting such a claim. If you are, for instance, male and a female with the same record is not excluded but you are, that could certainly be a discrimination claim.

If they find out you sued a prior employer for discrimination and refuse to hire you on that basis, that could be illegal retaliation and you might have a claim for violation of anti-discrimination laws.

If you think any of this applies, contact an employee-side employment lawyer in your state for advice on how to proceed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.