Class Action Ruling Sheds Light on Employer Fair Credit Reporting Act Obligations

The employment process frequently includes background checks for applicants. Even after being hired, employers may still run background checks on your behalf. If you find yourself in either of these situations, there are some things you should know to protect your legal rights.

Before you sign anything, make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are putting your name on. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act states that employers must disclose that they are attempting to obtain consumer reports on applicants. This goes for current employees as well.

The FCRA requires that the disclosure be a “clear and conspicuous written disclosure.” The written disclosure form must “solely” contain the disclosure required by the FCRA. The Ninth Circuit declared “solely” to be an important keyword to take note of when it comes to signing disclosures. In the case of Syed (applicant) v. M-I, LLC (employer), the disclosure form addressed multiple issues, not just the FCRA disclosure. As a result, the Court found that the disclosure form failed to satisfy the FCRA’s requirements. Disclosure forms that are not clear and conspicuous violate the FCRA.  Employees and job applicants who receive unclear disclosures may pursue claims to protect their rights under the FCRA.

EP partner Seth Lehrman litigates class actions in state and federal courts in Florida, California and across the United States, including FCRA claims on behalf of consumers. He can be reached at [email protected] or at 1-800-400-1098 during business hours on Eastern Standard Time.