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Every day, many consumers’ rights are being violated by individuals and big corporations. Banks, lenders, employers, debt collectors, credit repair agencies, so on and so forth. Many consumers have to face these institutions and individuals by themselves, not realizing there are laws enacted to protect them and their livelihood.
It is important that you educate yourself on your rights when dealing with these people and corporations. Knowing the law can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, while also retaining your peace of mind and dignity.
It is crucial that you get a trusted consumer rights attorney on your side, if you feel that your rights have been violated. And it is of no cost to you as we offer free case reviews. We get paid, when you do. So contact us now, or fill out our online form to represent you in consumer matters.
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CREDIT REPORT ERRORS?
Under the Federal Credit Reporting Act, credit report errors can be disputed. Click here to learn more.
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Some employers try to find out about your background by hiring someone to do a “background report” on you. Among the most common are criminal background reports and credit reports. But special rules apply when an employer gets a background report about you from a company in the business of compiling background information.
1. Before getting the report, the employer must tell you in a standalone document that they might use the information to make a decision related to your employment, and must ask for your written permission. You don’t have to give your permission, but if you’re applying for a job and you don’t give your permission, the employer may reject your application. If an employer gets a background report on you without your permission, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
2. If the employer thinks they might not hire, keep, or promote you because of something in the report, they must give you a copy of the report and a “Summary of Rights” that tells you how to contact the company that provided the report. That’s because background reports sometimes have mistakes. If you see a mistake in your background report, ask the background reporting company to fix it, and to send a copy of the corrected report to the employer. Tell the employer about the mistake, too.
Before you apply for a job, it’s a good idea to order a free copy of your credit report. That way, you can fix any mistakes before an employer sees it. To get your free credit report, visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com. You don’t have to buy any products they offer, and you don’t have to pay to get mistakes corrected.
For more information, you can call our firm at 718-674-1245 or message here.
Some employers look into your background before deciding whether to hire you, or before deciding whether you can keep your job. When they do, you have legal rights. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces a federal law that regulates background reports for employment, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal laws against employment discrimination. This publication explains these laws, and how to contact the FTC and EEOC if you think an employer has broken the law. There might be other rules in your city or state, so it’s a good idea to check with someone who knows the laws of your area.
Questions About Your Background
An employer may ask you for all sorts of background information, especially during the hiring process. For example, some employers may ask about your employment history, your education, your criminal record, your financial history, your medical history, or your use of online social media.
Unless the employer is asking for medical or genetic information, it’s not illegal to ask you questions about your background, or to require a background check. (Employers aren’t allowed to ask for medical information until they offer you a job, and they aren’t allowed to ask for your genetic information – including family medical history – except in very limited circumstances.)
However, when an employer asks about your background, it must treat you the same as anyone else, regardless of your race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), or older age (40 or older). For example, an employer is not allowed to ask for extra background information because you are of a certain race or ethnicity.
Some employers also will try to find out about your background by hiring someone to do a “background report” on you. Two of the most common are credit reports and criminal background reports.
Special rules apply when an employer gets a background report about you from a company in the business of compiling background information. First, the employer must ask for your written permission before getting the report. You don’t have to give your permission, but if you’re applying for a job and you don’t give your permission, the employer may reject your application.
If an employer gets a background report on you without your permission, contact the FTC (see below).
Second, if the employer thinks it might not hire or retain you because of something in the report, it must give you a copy of the report and a “notice of rights” that tells you how to contact the company that made the report. This is because background reports sometimes say things about people that aren’t accurate, and could even cost them jobs. If you see a mistake in your background report, ask the background reporting company to fix it, and to send a copy of the corrected report to the employer. You also should tell the employer about the mistake.
You can get your credit report and fix any mistakes before an employer sees it.
Need assistance on fixing your credit report? Call us today 718-674-1245 or click here.
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 USC §1681 et seq.) (FCRA) covers “consumer reports” issued for multiple purposes, and this is a source of confusion to many individuals. In addition to covering credit checks, the FCRA also governs employment background checks for the purposes of “hiring, promotion, retention, or reassignment.” The FCRA does not require employers to conduct employment background checks. But the law sets a national standard that employers must follow in employment screening. In some states, laws may give an employee more rights than the FCRA.
Do I have a right to know when a background check is requested?
Yes, if it is not performed by the employer. The background check must be prepared by an outside company — a “consumer reporting agency” or business that “for monetary fees, dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly engages in … assembling information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties.” (FCRA §603f)
Under the FCRA, the employer must obtain the applicant’s written authorization before the background check is conducted. The authorization must be on a document separate from all other documents such as an employment application. In California, at the time an employer obtains permission for a background check, the applicant or employee should also be told that he or she may request a copy of the report. The FCRA, in contrast, says the subject is entitled to a copy of the report if a pre-adverse notice is given.
Under federal law, if the employer uses information from the consumer report for an “adverse action” – that is, denying the job applicant, terminating the employee, rescinding a job offer, or denying a promotion – it must take the following steps:
- Before the adverse action is taken, the employer must give the applicant a “pre-adverse action disclosure.” This includes a copy of the report and an explanation of the consumer’s rights under the FCRA.
- After the adverse action is taken, the individual must be given an “adverse action notice.” This document must contain the name, address, and phone number of the employment screening company, a statement that this company did not make the adverse decision, rather that the employer did, and a notice that the individual has the right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of any of the information in the report.
Modified disclosure and adverse action procedures apply to positions subject to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations such as truck drivers. The DOT has independent authority to set qualifications for workers in transportation industries.
Can a background check report include a case that was expunged?
According to the FTC, it should not. In August 2012, the agency fined a background screening company $2.6 million for, among other things, reporting criminal records that had been expunged. In addition, the FTC charged the company with failing to follow other FCRA provisions, including failure to provide consumers with a copy of their background check report.
I am applying for a job in a profession that is required by law to perform background checks, such as in law enforcement, childcare, or a hospital. Will this affect my rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
Maybe. When a specific law requires a background check, that same law usually outlines the rights employees have. These rights may not necessarily follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the background screening law that governs “consumer reports.” However, if a third-party screening company is hired, the FCRA would apply.
Law enforcement agencies or state licensing authorities may have direct access to state and federal criminal records databases, which many private employers do not have. A government-run database is not a consumer reporting agency and is not subject to the FCRA. Whether you have a right to get your report or make corrections may be spelled out in the background check forms you signed or perhaps on the agency’s website.
However, individuals are generally allowed to access their own criminal records files maintained by a state or federal agency. To learn how to access your state’s criminal records data files, visit the website of your state Attorney General. The federal Privacy Act also gives you the right to request records maintained about you. To check federal criminal records, contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Each state offers its own definition of expungement, based on different rules and laws. Generally, expungement can be viewed as the process to “remove from general review” the records pertaining to a case. But the records may not completely “disappear” and may still be available to law enforcement.
To learn more about FCRA Background Check Rules, call 718-674-1245 or click here.
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Consumer’s rights are violated every day by big corporations and employers, and it is imperative that you get a trusted Consumer Rights Attorney on your side to help you fight for damages you are entitled to. We provide free case reviews, and we do not take a single dime from you! When you win, we win! Get in touch with us today!
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