Employment Denied: Perils of Bad Background Checks

Nowadays employment is a valued thing.  With the challenged economy and rising consumer prices, and obtaining and maintaining a position of employment has never been more important.  One major factor in being offered a position of employment is having a good or “clean” background check.

Background checks and the companies providing them are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA).  The company that provides the background information has a duty to report with maximum possible accuracy, and has a duty to conduct a prompt and reasonable reinvestigation into the accuracy of their report once challenged by the consumer. 

A large number of employers do not conduct their own background checks.  Instead, they outsource this task to companies such as Lexis/Nexis, Employeescreeniq, Accurint, Easy Backgrounds or HireRight Solutions.  These companies use a variety of databases and sources of information to provide a prospective employer with some of the following information:

  • Driving records
  • Vehicle registration
  • Credit records
  • Criminal records
  • Social Security no.
  • Education records
  • Court records
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Bankruptcy
  • Character references
  • Neighbor interviews
  • Medical records
  • Property ownership
  • Military records
  • State licensing records
  • Drug test records
  • Past employers
  • Personal references
  • Incarceration records
  • Sex offender lists

If an issue is identified on the background screening report that will eliminate an applicant from consideration, the employer is required by law to send a pre-adverse action letter to the applicant giving the applicant a reasonable amount of time to review the report and get back to the potential employer with any additional details pertaining to the issue. If the job seeker does not respond within the allotted time frame, the employer will notify the applicant via letter of an “adverse action” and the applicant will not be hired.

If you are denied employment because of information reported in a background check, you will need to find out the name of the company that provided the background check.  Contact that company and demand to see a copy of your report.  According to the FCRA the company is required to provide you a report free of charge if you were denied employment based upon their report.  (And per FACTA consumers are allowed to receive one free disclosure of their credit report per twelve month period).  Once you obtain the background check/report, notify the background reporting company and dispute the incorrect information.  By law, they have 30 days to conduct an investigation and report the results back to you. A failure on their part to do any of the above violates the FCRA.

If you are denied an employment opportunity or terminated from employment due to inaccurate information in a background check report, contact the O’Neal Law Office for a free consultation about your situation.



  1. Alex Standt

    Undergoing a credit check for a job is becoming a relatively common occurrence that is unfortunately keeping a lot of people in financial dire straits. This debate will continue to rage on for who knows how long and this is why it’s so important for job seekers to start making the effort to bring their credit scores up. If you are serious about finding a job, you need to be serious about your creditworthiness as well. This may seem like an impassible dilemma, but it can be done. Thanks. For some good related information, please go here http://www.freeonlinecreditreportsite.com/why-do-employers-do-a-credit-check-for-a-job/

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