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Discrimination Based On Background And Credit Checks

While employers are allowed to run background checks and credit checks on prospective and current employees, how they use that information matters. Certain information, even if uncovered as part of a background check, may not be used when making a decision about hiring someone.

At the Law Offices of Kevin T. Barnes, we are experienced employment law attorneys who are dedicated to standing up for the rights of individuals who have been discriminated against.

If you believe you have lost a job opportunity because of information uncovered in a background or credit check, talk to an attorney at our Los Angeles firm.

How The Fair Credit Reporting Act Works With Background And Credit Checks

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that governs the reporting of background information. It is not limited to credit checks. It also includes driving records and lawsuit history. The FCRA has specific rules that dictate how employers can use this information.

The FCRA’s seven-year rule limits the reporting of criminal events such as indictments and arrests. Any of these events that occurred before seven years may not be reported. The California seven-year rule also restricts the reporting of participation in diversion programs. Marijuana arrests are only reportable for two years. Criminal convictions are not subject to these limitations.

Fair Credit Reporting Act violations may include a prospective employer:

  • Failing to disclose and obtain written consent for running a background check.
  • Including other information such as a liability waiver, at-will employment consent or other items that require consent on the background consent form.
  • Denying employment to a prospective employee without giving the employee advance notice that the employer’s decision is based in whole or in part on information contained within the credit report.
  • Failing to provide a Summary of Rights and copy of the background report with notice that employment is being denied.

One of your rights is the opportunity to contest information contained within the background report. If you are concerned about a prior criminal conviction, you may want to consider expungement.

California Background Check Rules

California has its own rules governing background checks. California’s rules under the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act are even more restrictive on the use of background information and credit checks, which requires that employers offer job applicants copies of their background check information.

California prohibits employers from using information about any arrests in making a job-related decision. Employers are also prohibited from obtaining military records or considering bankruptcy filings when evaluating a person for employment.

Certain things may be requested if they are relevant to the job. Educational records and any records pertaining to a workers’ compensation claim may be relevant. In addition, if physical work is part of a job, an employer may request a physical evaluation. An employer may not, however, request to see copies of your medical records.

Denied A Job In California Because Of Your Background Or Credit History?

Our lawyers are adept at identifying and pursuing claims for violations of federal and state background report rules. If you were denied a job, talk to our lawyers about your options. Call our firm at (323) 549-9100 to schedule a free initial consultation at our Los Angeles office.