When you are looking for work, you would agree to almost anything during the application process. Many employers require a criminal background check before they will commit to hiring you. While some California companies conduct these checks themselves, many others use a third-party background screening company to run the check. Either way, if your rights are violated when seeking your background information, you may be able to sue for substantial damages.
How Do Screeners Violate Rights?
As I have discussed elsewhere on this site, employers and the screening companies they use must follow certain state and federal guidelines when running background checks on potential or current employees. For starters, they must tell you they are going to run a check and get your written permission to do so. If the check returns negative information about you, the employer must tell you about it and provide you with a copy of the report. If they decide not to hire (or promote or transfer) you based on that information—in legalese, they are taking “adverse action”—they must inform you of that fact as well. These protections are guaranteed under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and under California’s Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA), which expands upon the federal protections. If any of these steps are not taken, you can dispute the background check.
If Violations Are Not Corrected, You Can Sue
At both the state and federal levels, there is a dispute procedure you must follow if a background check turned up incorrect information or an employer did not issue a notice of adverse action. Taking those steps may not result in a satisfactory result, however. In California, you can sue both the screening company and the employer for actual damages—meaning the monetary amount you have lost because of the violation—or $10,000, whichever is greater. In addition, attorney fees and court costs may also be awarded.
Tell Me About Your Background Check Nightmare
If you think an employer violated your FCRA and ICRAA rights, don’t waste any time reaching out to me. I will guide you through the required steps for attempting to resolve the issue and, if it comes to it, will help you file a lawsuit. It was bad enough that you didn’t get the job—to find out that the employer violated your rights makes it even worse. Let’s fix this together. Contact me online or call me directly at 855.982.2400.