Practice Areas

Employee Rights

Improper or Illegal Employment Background Checks – What Every Job Applicant and Employee Should Know:

Not Hired Or Fired Because Of A Background Check?

Does Your Background Check Contain Errors?

If So, You May Be Owed Compensation.

Our attorneys practice nationwide. Contact us for a free consultation.



Many background checks frequently have errors or contain information that is not legally reportable. An error on your background check can result in the denial of a job, loss of a promotion, credit, or housing, and can have a negative impact on your life. Nichols Kaster recognizes the serious consequences that can result from an erroneous or illegal background check and is committed to ensuring that our clients are not the victims of errors made by employers, credit bureaus or background check companies. We would like to hear from you. Tell us about your case.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that protects consumers and regulates the use and content of background checks. Nichols Kaster handles cases nationwide representing individuals and classes of consumers in lawsuits for money damages against employers, creditors, landlords, and background check companies. Please contact us if your background check has prevented you from getting hired, obtaining a loan, finding housing, or if there is inaccurate or outdated information on your background check. We routinely handle cases all over the country and are committed to working hard to ensure our clients get the results they deserve.

Steven Andrew Smith

Employment Law Attorney Learn More »

We have experience with the following types of cases for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act:

Improper or illegal background check lawsuits

Inaccurate Background Check Lawsuits

Inaccurate credit report lawsuits

Identity theft lawsuits

Improper or Illegal Background Checks

Proper background check disclosure and authorization is required:

Prior to running a background check for employment purposes, employers must provide a proper disclosure to job applicants and current employees indicating a background check may be done for employment purposes. This disclosure must be made in a document consisting solely of the disclosure. The employer must also obtain your authorization to run a background report on you.

Your rights may have been violated if an employer did not provide a proper disclosure or did not obtain your authorization prior to requesting your background check from a company called a consumer reporting agency or (CRA). The authorization form you sign must meet the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Our experienced attorneys can help you determine if your background check was handled properly and the forms you were provided were legal according to the FCRA. We are committed to fighting for the rights of applicants and employees who have had background checks run on them by employers who did not follow the law.

You have the right to get a copy of your background check:

When a consumer reporting agency runs a background check on you they must provide you with a copy of your report upon request.

If an employer, landlord or creditor is going to take any adverse action against you such as rescinding a job offer, or denying credit, they are required to send you a notice so that you have a chance to dispute any possible errors on your report. If it is for employment, the notice must be sent before they take action against you (“pre-adverse action notice”) and must include a copy of the background check.  Unfortunately, many times, employers either fail to send these letters or they fail to include a copy of the report with the pre-adverse action letter. Sometimes, employers also fail to give applicants and employees sufficient time to dispute and correct an error in a background report.

A consumer reporting agency is also required to provide you with a copy of your background check or consumer file upon request. Contact us if you would like us to help you request a copy of your background check or your personnel file.

Inaccurate Background Checks

Errors on your background check can cost you a job offer, a promotion, or limit your ability to get credit or housing. Job applicants that have common names may notice that their pre-employment background check contains the criminal history of someone else with a similar name. Tenants may notice “evictions” on their reports that relate to other people or to places where they never lived. People with a criminal record may notice that their criminal background check contains errors such as a misdemeanor being reported as a felony, or that the report includes a non-conviction, such as a dismissed charge, that is older than 7 years.

Employment or Criminal Background checks should not include:

  • Information that does not belong to the individual that authorized the background check (Ex: reporting criminal record of someone with a similar name);
  • Negative information (other than convictions or bankruptcies) that is more than seven years old (Ex: reporting a dismissed charge from 10 years ago)
  • Duplicative information (Ex: reporting the same criminal incident numerous times)
  • Inaccurate information (Ex. Reporting a misdemeanor as a felony)
 

At Nichols Kaster, we understand the harm that an error on your background check can cause you. We understand how unfair it can feel to be denied employment based your background check and are passionate about defending your rights. Please contact us if your background check is preventing you from getting a job, a loan, or housing, or if there is inaccurate or outdated information on your report. Consumers who have experienced violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act have a right to sue for money damages and may also be entitled to statutory damages and punitive damages. Contact us for a free consultation.