FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT (FCRA)
Most employers use criminal background checks to make employment decisions. This can cause a substantial barrier to hiring and promotions. So Federal law strictly controls how and what criminal background information can be used and obtained. These laws provide remedies to job applicants when employers or the businesses that supply criminal background information violate these laws.
The FCRA requires employers using background checks to clearly disclosure it, to get written permission from the applicant or employee beforehand, and provide very specific notices when the information will result in a negative outcome. The FCRA also limits the kind of information that the suppliers of background information (Credit Reporting Agencies) can provide to employers. If your employer or a Credit Reporting Agency has violated the FCRA you may be entitled to money damages, and the damages can be more significant if the violation was willful.
CIVIL RIGHTS CLAIMS – TITLE VII
The U.S. is the world’s leading jailer. We hold 25% of the world’s inmates while we represent only 5% of the world’s population. The racial disparities that exist in our prison population are well-known and documented, so the use of background checks is particularly devastating to minority communities. The Equal Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has issued specific guidance on this issue, and a growing number of state and local governments have adopted “ban the box” laws. You may have a civil rights claim if you are a member of a protected group and your employer’s policies and practices have caused a disparate impact while there is a less discriminatory way to achieve a legitimate business goal.
Christa Collins of Harmon, Woods, Parker & Abrunzo, P.A. has years of experience protecting the rights of individuals. If you’ve been turned down for a job or housing as a result of a stale arrest, contact our office for a free consultation.