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Background or Credit Report Problems?

Has your background or credit been checked without your permission?

Has inaccurate or old information on your report harmed you?

Have you tried to have the bad information removed but haven’t been able to?

Federal law gives you rights that protect you, as employment or discrimination lawyer relies on can explain. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) imposes strict requirements on companies that use credit reports or criminal background reports for employment purposes.  In the employment context, the FCRA recognizes two separate types of companies: the consumer reporting agency and the user.  The consumer reporting agency gathers information about individuals from different sources, creates a consumer report containing all of the information it finds, and, when authorized to do so, sells the report to a user.  A user is the company or individual who purchases the consumer report. Typically, a user is a credit granting company like a bank, credit card company, or lender, but may be a landlord or potential employer.

The FCRA imposes different obligations on consumer reporting agencies and users.  So depending on the facts of your situation, you may be able to recover damages from both.  For example, if you applied for a position and a potential employer obtained your credit or a background report on you, but didn’t get your permission, that violates the FCRA and may entitle you to statutory damages of between $100 and $1,000, even if you suffered no other harm.    Even if you granted your permission, the FCRA requires the user of the report to provide a disclosure to you in standalone document with no other notice or disclosure on the same page. If the disclosure is provided in any other form, you may be able to recover statutory damages.

If the report caused you to be denied a job or you were not able to dispute the information before the company decided not to hire you, you might be entitled to even greater damages, which might include lost wages, damages for emotional distress, or compensation for any other losses you might have suffered as a result of the employer relying on false information about you.  And, even if the information is correct, but more than 7 years old, you may still be entitled to damages, depending on what the information is.

Finally, you also have rights under the FCRA to protect you if you have disputed inaccurate, misleading, or, in some cases, very old information reported about you, but have been unable to have the information removed.