Employment Background Check Rights

Your Rights & Employment Background Checks

Criminal records, the companies that keep and run them, and their use by employers are all governed by both federal and state laws. The two main federal laws that pertain to background checks are the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Enforcement of the Civil Rights Act falls to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). Many states have also enacted their own laws when it comes to the use of background checks for employment purposes.

  • You have to be notified!
    • An employer must provide you with a written disclosure and receive authorization from you prior to conducting any background check. This disclosure and written authorization must be:
      • On separate documents from any application for employment.
      • Must contain specific disclosure language.
      • Must contain the name, address, phone number, and website of the screening company.
  • Before turning you down for employment based on the results of your background check the employer must provide you with a "pre-adverse action letter". This letter gives you an opportunity to contest any discrepancies or, in some cases, possibly provide context to your record. The letter must contain:
    • That the employer may not move forward with hiring based on the results of your background report.
    • A copy of the background report.
    • A copy of the FCRA Summary of Rights.
    • Instructions for disputing the background report and contact information for the agency that conducted the report.
  • Disputing your background report.
    • If you receive a pre-adverse action letter it is imperative that you review the accuracy of the report. Unfortunately, errors are made such as two individuals with the same name getting mixed-up.
    • You have an absolute right to dispute your background report and any information contained within.
    • You must be given a "reasonable amount of time" to request a dispute. The Federal Trade Commission has said that five (5) business days is a "reasonable" amount of time.
    • Your dispute may be made directly to the reporting agency via a phone call, email, fax, or letter.
  • If you elect to dispute your background check, the reporting agency must conduct a reinvestigation and re-verify any of the disputed information.
    • Not to discourage disputing your report, but you should not that a dispute could potentially delay your hiring.
    • The FCRA requires that your dispute is re-investigated within 30 days from the date your filed the initial dispute.
    • While companies are not required to wait, they are strongly encouraged, and it is considered a best practice, to wait until the reinvestigation has been completed before making an adverse decision.
    • Upon completion of the reinvestigation both you and the employer will be notified of the outcome. There three (3) potential outcomes that could occur:
      • Your background report is changed and the contested information is removed.
      • Your background report is corrected and amended with any new information.
      • Your background report is not changed and remains the same.
  • Finally, if an employer decides not to hire you based on the results of your background report, they must provide you with an Adverse Action letter making the decision not to hire final.

Do you want to see what employers see?

What you may not know is that you can run your own background check prior to applying for any jobs. In fact, obtaining your own report can help you identify any possible issues and get them resolved before an employer has a chance to even see them.

Ready to take charge of your background? Run your personal background check today and see what employers will see.

Your True Me Background Report

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