Background Checks / Fair Credit Reporting Act
Consumer reports concerning our credit, criminal history and other background information are playing an increasingly important role in society. Our ability to obtain credit to purchase goods and services often depends on our credit score. Obtaining employment can also hinge on the results of a background check which may include a criminal history and even interviews with friends, colleagues and/or former employers. Simply put, in the information age how we look on paper can be as important as who we are in person.
Congress enacted the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) in 1970 in recognition of the increasing significance of consumer reports, to regulate how Consumer Reporting Agencies and others may report and use our information. Its purpose is to promote accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information while at the same time satisfying the commercial need for consumer reports.
If you have lost a job opportunity, been denied credit or suffered some other adverse consequence because of information on a consumer report, you may have a claim under the FCRA which provides consumers with a private right of action for the violation of its requirements. Under the FCRA, claims may be brought for the following unlawful conduct:
- Failing to follow procedures for ensuring the accuracy of information
- Failing to investigate or reinvestigate consumer dispute information
- Obtaining a consumer report for an impermissible purpose
- Obtaining a consumer report for employment purposes without proper disclosure and authorization
- Taking an adverse action against an employee based on information in a consumer report without following pre- and post- adverse action notice requirements
A company that violates the FCRA may be liable for any actual damages or, in the case of a willful violation, statutory damages of $100 to $1,000.
At Glancy Prongay & Murray we have significant experience litigating FCRA class actions against some of the largest companies in the country including Michaels Stores, O’Reilly Automotive Stores and Petco, among others. If you have experienced problems relating to a background check call us now for a free and confidential consultation with a consumer protection attorney to learn about your rights under the FCRA.