When Employers Can Use Background Reports for Hiring

Background reports is a broad term. But when an employer obtains information about you relating to your lifestyle, mode of living, credit or other financial history, former employers, whether from a consumer reporting agency, a background checking company or some other third party, the report or investigation as it may be called is likely subject to the requirements of the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. To obtain or use such a report, the employer must first disclose its intent to use such a report in writing to you in a document that consists solely of this disclosure, though the document may also include a place for you to authorize the report. Secondly, the employer must get your authorization to obtain and use such a report in writing and before it obtains or uses the report. If the employer does not make a legal disclosure or obtain your prior authorization in writing, it is in violation of your consumer rights under the act. If you are not hired or not promoted, or some other adverse action, you may also have damages that are recoverable under the law.