So you’re applying for a new job, and it seems you’re very qualified. You’ve got years of experience in the field, and your interview went well. But later, you find you didn’t get the job, and you don’t know why. As it turns out, it could be your credit or background report that prevented you from being hired.
How and When Employers Can Use Credit or Background Report
We tend to think of credit as something that’s only used to take out loans, but in fact, many employers can and do check the credit of prospective hires. The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) generally does allow an employer to check your background report t, under certain conditions, but some states preclude use of credit report unless the potential job meets certain conditions.
An employer must have your express written consent to pull your credit or background report. Its common to have no recollection that you gave any consent. But in many cases, employment applications contain such permission in the fine print. If the permission is there, the use of the credit may be legal, but it also must be in a stand alone document.
An employer can only pull your credit to make a hiring or promotion decision. It can’t, for example, pull credit to “check on you,” or see why you quit, or see why you may have absences from work.
What if You’re Not Hired Because of Credit or Background Reports?
If there is an adverse action against you (such as not being hired) because of your credit or background report, the potential employer must let you know before taking the action by giving you a series of notices, including providing you with the credit report that it used. This is to allow you to correct, explain or clear up any negative items in your credit, before the decision is made. Given the number of errors that can appear in credit reports, this is an important right.
It may be a good idea to get request your report from both the employer and background company, and challenge any inaccurate statements on the reports.
Determining if The Employer Complied
Unfortunately, if potential employers don’t comply with these requirements, there may be no way of knowing whether the decision not to hire you was based on credit. You can check your own credit reports to see if it was “pulled” by the employer, but that report will not show if a background report was used. Also, employers will often deny relying upon credit for making the decision, even if it was obtained. If an FCRA lawsuit is filed, these may be questions for a jury to determine at trial.
If you have a credit issue or dispute, or other problem with how your credit was used or reported, the consumer attorneys at Keogh Law may be able to help. Contact us today at 866-726-1092 to discuss all your consumer credit problems.