False information on a background check can cost you employment opportunities and more.
Learn how we can help you permanently fix these records.
Nearly all employers, from large retailers to ride-hailing services, now use background checks as part of their hiring processes. Landlords use them as well, nearly every time you apply to rent a property. What most applicants don’t know is that these reports are created almost entirely electronically, with computers hunting through databases full of criminal records and matching those records to applicants. The background-reporting companies compete largely on price, so the cheaper they can create reports, the better. And it’s cheaper to do it by computer program than to pay a human being to compare records with applicants and decide whether the right applicant is matched to the correct record. It’s also cheaper to buy data from a third party than it is to send someone to a courthouse to look in the actual court file, so criminal and other public-record information (like evictions and liens) is often old and outdated, and therefore inaccurate.
Because of the lack of genuine human oversight, background reports are notoriously inaccurate. Errors include such problems as reporting charges as active that have been dismissed, reporting charges that are more severe than the actual outcome of a case (such as being originally charged with a felony but pleading guilty to a misdemeanor, with the felony being reported on the background report), reporting an eviction that never occurred or was later dismissed, or simply mixing the records of a stranger with those of the applicant.
You have rights under federal law regarding background checks employers use. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the background check company to use procedures to ensure the maximum possible accuracy of the information they report about you. Reporting companies also have notice and strict-procedure requirements when they report public-record information (like criminal history) about you.
Separately, employers have to inform you of their intent to obtain a background check about you in a document that is as short as possible to inform you of that intent and get your written authorization to do a background check. If the employer wants to use the contents of a background check report to refuse to hire or promote you or to fire you, the employer must first give you a copy of the entire report and a written summary of your Fair Credit Reporting Act rights. The employer must then allow you a reasonable amount of time (around 5 business days) to dispute or discuss any of the contents of the report before the employer makes its final hiring decision.
For reports used to screen tenants, the reporting agencies also have to use procedures designed to ensure the maximum possible accuracy of the information they report about you. That means they should do things like compare your middle name to those appearing in court records, but often they do not, leading to inaccuracies that may cost you the ability to rent an apartment.
We can help you with all of these background-related problems –
Our litigation history against background reporting companies reads like a who’s who in the industry, and our expertise in this area is second to none. Contact us to discuss any problems you’ve had with a background check.
If we take your case, we will do so on a contingency basis, which means you won’t pay any of our attorneys’ fees or litigation costs unless we obtain a settlement or judgment on your behalf.