Background checks are important for opportunities, like employment, which usually depend on a successful background check. Unfortunately, sometimes items can be reported in error on your background check and cause you to lose a job opportunity. If there are errors on your background check, you have the right to dispute and may even be able to sue.
Can You Sue A Background Check Company?
According to the FCRA, you have the right to sue a background check company who reported items in error. You can sue them for damages caused by having incorrect information added to your background check.
If you think you have a case, seek a consumer protection lawyer and schedule a consultation.
Does Your Background Check Contain Errors?
When an employer or other entity runs a background check on you, you have the right to receive a copy of the report. If you notice errors on that report, you should dispute them with the background check agency, or company who provided the report. Errors on a background check can happen for a number of reasons, with mixed files being one of the most common causes of errors.
What Are Common Background Check Errors?
Errors can appear on your background check for a number of reasons. Some of the most common background check errors are:
- Outdated information that is past the timeline for reporting is still showing up on your background check.
- Mistaken identity (The records of someone else entirely are on your background check.)
- An incorrect criminal record appears in a background check.
Mixed files are one of the most common ways you can end up with a mistaken identity error, or someone else's criminal background, on your report. All it takes is having a similar name to someone else and the background check agency not doing their due diligence to verify it's really you.
Although this is a common mistake, it's not harmless, and can cost you job opportunities and more. For example, you wouldn’t want your name showing up on a sex offenders watchlist by mistake – that could hurt your employment and reputation.
Summary of Your FCRA Rights
Due to the sensitive nature of background checks, you as the consumer are granted rights under the FCRA.
Your rights under the FCRA are:
- Any decisions made based on your background check results must be communicated back to you in writing. (i.e., If something on your background check costs you a job offer.)
- You have a right to access copy of the background check.
- You have the right to dispute errors identified on your background check.
- Employers and/or potential employers must get official consent from you to perform a background screening.
- Background check, or consumer reporting agencies in violation of the FCRA may be sued by the affected individual.
It’s important to know your rights so you can successfully dispute and remove any errors from your report. You may even be able to sue for damages.
Disputing Background Check Errors
Under the FCRA, you have the right to dispute any errors found on your background check. Most background check providers have an area on their website where you can learn more about their disputing process.
Here’s how to get started on disputing errors on your background check:
- Identify the background check agency or company who provided the information.
- Visit their website to learn about their disputing process
- You can file a dispute by mail, phone, or in most cases, online.
- Under the FCRA, the company has 30 days (from the day they receive the dispute) to review and fix any errors.
If you file a dispute by mail, be sure to send copies of your proof, not the originals.
How Long Do Background Check Disputes Normally Take?
If you’ve found an error on your background check, you might be in a rush to get it resolved. Once you file the dispute, the company and/or agency has 30 days to review and fix any errors they find.
They must inform you in writing within 30 days if they have not been able to remove the error(s) and for what reason.
Failure to do so is a violation of the FCRA.
Background checks are important and very personal. Items showing up in error on your background check can be disputed. You may even be able to sue for damages.