It is understandable that an employer would want to gather as much information as possible about a potential employee. As an applicant for a job, you may be asked all kinds of questions about your background. An employer will want to know about your work history, education, and any criminal convictions. These days, an employer may even ask about your social media history.
It’s important to know, though, that there are limits to the kinds of questions that can be asked of a job applicant, including any questions about medical history or genetic information. Employers are prohibited by law from treating you differently based on the information you have provided about your race, national origin, gender, age, religion, or disabilities.
When it comes to information about your financial past, there are also limitations placed on employers.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act and Background Checks
An employer may want to hire an outside agency to run your credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), however, places certain restrictions on how your credit report may be used. The following special rules apply to employers seeking to access your credit report:
- The employer must inform you that he plans to obtain your credit report.
- The employer must inform you that he may base his hiring decision on the information contained in the report.
- The employer must ask for your written permission to obtain your credit report. You are not required to grant permission, but the employer is within his rights if he chooses not to hire you because you denied permission.
- If an employer conducts a background check without your written permission, you should contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and you may want to speak to an attorney.
- If the employer chooses not to hire, promote, or keep you on based on something discovered in your credit report, he is required by law to give you a copy of the report and a copy of the FTC’s Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA.
- If you find that your credit report contains false or incorrect information, you should ask the credit reporting agency to fix the mistakes and inform the employer of the errors.
It is always a good idea to get a copy of your credit report before applying for a new job so that you can fix any misinformation before anyone else sees it. Under the FCRA, you are entitled to a free credit report annually.
The Consumer Law Group Is Here to Help You Resolve Credit Reporting Errors
If you are having problems with an employer using your credit report without your permission or with a credit reporting agency not correcting errors on your report, contact Attorney John Gayle at the Consumer Law Group at 804-282-7900. We will make sure your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act are protected.