Consumer Protection Lawyer in California

Improper Background Checks

In today’s economy, the wrong information on a background check can cost consumers their jobs and their homes. Potter Handy’s attorneys have taken a lead in the area of background check litigation, with cases pending against the largest tenant screening consumer reporting agency in the country, and numerous cases against unscrupulous employers.

Background Check Rules

If an employer decides to order a criminal background check from a third party, it must also comply with the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). (FCRA). Among other aspects, the FCRA requires employers to obtain the written consent of the applicant beforehand and to include certain notifications if the employer decides not to hire the applicant on the basis of the content of the report.

California has a similar law to the FCRA, requiring employers to obtain written permission and to notify the applicant before agreeing to recruit him or her on the basis of the details in the report. Under California law, arrest and conviction records that are more than seven years old cannot be included in a background check report.

Generally speaking, these laws apply when an employer hires a third party to carry out a background check, not when it performs an in-house investigation. California, however has an exception to looking for public records. Any employer who searches the public record as part of a background check must also take some precautions. For example, the employer must provide the applicant with a copy of the report within seven days, unless the applicant waives this right on the job application (or some other written form provided by the employer). If the employer chooses not to hire the applicant on the basis of a record, it must provide the applicant with a copy of the record even if the applicant has waived the right to obtain a copy of the document.

Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA

  • You must be notified if a background check or employment report has been used against you.
  • You are entitled to a copy of your background check
  • You have the right to dispute any errors on your background check
  • Mistakes on your background check must be corrected or removed within 30 days of your dispute.
  • Employers or potential employers must have written consent from you to run a background check
  • You may sue background check companies and consumer reporting agencies that violate the FCRA

If your background check is inaccurate and it has cost you a job, or employment opportunity you may be entitled to damages. We can help. Get a Free Case Review Now.

How to Dispute Background Check Mistakes

Most background check companies have an area on their websites where you can fill out a form and submit any documentation that you might need to show that they are incorrect with their report. You may also file a dispute by mail or by phone.

Tip: If you challenge the background check for errors by mail, be sure that all documents you send are copies. Don’t submit the originals.

How Long Does It Take to Dispute a Background Check?

Disputing a background check can take up to 30 days. Pertaining to the laws of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Background check companies and employment reporting agencies have 30 days to correct any errors on your background check after you have submitted a dispute.

Can I Sue Over and Incorrect Background Check?

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the right to sue the background company for losses that have been incurred by the errors they reported on the background check.

Find out if you have an error-related case on your background check right now. Get a free case review, no obligation, and no out-of-pocket costs. If you’ve got a case, we’ll just get paid when you win.

Help from a Consumer Protection Lawyer for Improper Background Checks

Have you lost a job or been denied employment due to errors on your background check or employment report?

Potter Handy, LLP is on your side! We have successfully handled hundreds of cases involving consumers, such as you who have lost employment and job opportunities as a result of an incorrect background check or job report.

Fill out the online form for a free case review, or call us right now at (415) 534-1911. There are no out-of-pocket costs to you, let us get to work for you, so you can take your life back.