A potential client asked me what I can do if they were applying for a job, and when they did a criminal background check, the company that was doing the background check reported that the person was a criminal (in this case a felon) when the potential client had never been arrested for any crime. The potential employer then calls the client, and says that they cannot hire a felon.
This particular case uncovers a sea of issues ranging from violation of the Fair Credit Act to defamation of character. Let’s take some time to address each of the components of this case individually to determine the best solution moving forward.
The first thing to look at is what happened. In this case, the potential client was applying for a job that required that they undergo a background check. There are several kinds of background checks, including credit report, criminal history, and at a higher level, secret and top secret background checks.
What do you do if the background check says something false? What if they said that you were a felon in a state you had never even visited?
Responsibility of Background Check Company
Clearly, the first party responsible in this case is the company that did the original background check. They are clearly liable because they sent falsified information to your potential employer, which may have cost you your job. As a background agency, they have a duty to follow “procedures to assure the maximum possible accuracy.” They are guilty of violating this duty because the court of clerks produced documentation to prove the information in their background check was false. Because they failed to uphold this duty, they are not doing their job and are in violation of the Fair Credit Act. You are probably wondering how a background agency can be held to fair credit law. It’s quite simple; a background agency is subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act because they report on “credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living.”
Responsibility of the employer
Depending upon additional details gathered in this case, they employer may bear some responsibility as well. Based on the information that came back in this false background check, it is clear that the company decided not to hire the candidate in question. However, the candidate was not notified properly by the employer, stating that they would not be moving forward and why. Failure to notify candidates in the proper manner is also a violation of the Fair Credit Act. The employer may also be guilty of wrongdoing in this case.
Do you need an Attorney Experienced in the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
Absolutely! This is a very strong case for an attorney with experience in the Fair Credit Reporting Act, with the proper documentation. You should not only be able to prove violation of the Fair Credit Act, and recover the lost income, but also seek punitive damages. You may also be able to recover for defamation of character as a result of this experience. Your Fair Credit attorney will guide you through the process of getting the compensation you deserve in this case.
If you need help with this, Krumbein Consumer Legal Services is experienced in litigating background check errors, and credit report errors.
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Krumbein Consumer Legal Services, Inc.
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