The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is legislation that was put into effect by Congress to promote the fairness, accuracy, and privacy of consumer information contained in credit reporting agency files. The FCRA has strict regulations when it comes to running background checks on individuals. Not complying with these rules can result in financial penalties and legal issues.
Before a background check takes place, it is necessary for employers to attain an FCRA disclosure and authorization. These serve to inform the individual that they intend to do a background check and get the individual’s permission to do so.
Even though this seems pretty straightforward, the requirements can get pretty tricky resulting in unfair hiring lawsuits and civil penalties.
Read on to find out more about FCRA disclosures and how they can protect your rights.
What is the Purpose of FCRA Disclosures?
FCRA disclosures let an individual know that a background check will take place. The first step in the process is to send candidates a disclosure to inform them that there is intent to run a background check that will affect an employment decision.
The disclosure notification that is issued requires ‘clear and conspicuous disclosure in writing in a standalone document’. Let’s break that down so we can better understand what is required.
- Clear: The disclosure must be written in language that is easy for the individual to understand with no legalese or jargon.
- Conspicuous: The disclosure should be displayed prominently on any document so the individual can not overlook it, i.e. it shouldn’t be buried in the fine print.
- In Writing in a Standalone Document: The disclosure must be provided in writing in a document specifically provided for that purpose. However, the disclosure can be combined with an FCRA authorization form. That is the only exception to the rule.
What is the Purpose of the FCRA Authorization?
When performing a background check, a company must also get the individual’s authorization. This can be a self-contained document, or it can be included with the disclosure form.
Authorization forms should not:
- Include liability releases or any other releases related to the hiring process or background check
- Require the applicant to certify the accuracy of a job application
- Seek the applicant’s acknowledgement that the company engages in fair hiring practices
FCRA authorizations may ask for an applicant’s name, address and social security number and other personal information required for the background check. It must be signed by the applicant and a copy must be provided to the applicant. The original should be kept on file by the company requiring the background check.
Make Sure Your Rights are Protected
If you feel your rights have been violated Samuel Ford of Alexander Shunnarah Personal Injury Attorneys can help.
The SVHC team has years of experience in the field of consumer protection and knows the ins and outs of the FCRA. SVHC provides a client-centric approach and aggressive representation.
Samuel Ford of SVHC offers free consultations and, if you have a claim, you may be able to recover all associated costs and attorney’s fees, meaning SVHC may be able to represent you at no cost to you! Contact Samuel Ford today!