You’ve gotten a new job and your employer has permitted you to begin working before your background check comes back. But then they say that there are flags on your background check! What should you do if you’ve failed a background check after starting a new job?
Common Background Check Errors
Background check errors are common (although they shouldn’t be) and you have the right to dispute them and have them fixed promptly.
Some of the most common background check errors are:
- Incorrect criminal history – Let’s say that someone who has a name very similar to yours has committed a crime. Background check reporting agencies often attribute these things to the wrong person!
- Outdated information – If you committed a misdemeanor, or were charged with a crime and not convicted, it can only stay on your background check for so long. Negative hits such as bankruptcy or foreclosure are the same.Check with your local consumer law firm for the timelines on which these should be removed.
- Cases of mistaken identity – If someone has stolen your name, social security number, and other personally identifiable information and is using it to pretend to be you, you have the right to take action.
If any of these errors are on your background check, or even something much less frightening, such as a misrepresented maiden or married name or an incorrect address, then you need to have the inaccuracy addressed right away.
How to Dispute Background Check Errors
You have the right to dispute anything incorrect on your background check. Let your employer know of the error and that you will be contacting the background check reporting agency right away. Then, collect any information that proves who you are and what you have (or haven’t) done.
Go to the background check agency’s website and upload your proof. This begins the notification timeline in which the agency must fix the error on your report. Don’t stop there, though. Follow up with a phone call and then send in copies of the evidence to the agency through certified mail.
Note: Never send original copies of any documentation to a background check agency. You won’t get them back! Always send copies.
Taking care to perform all these steps helps ensure that the process goes smoothly and quickly.
Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA
The FCRA stands for the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This act was put in place to ensure every citizen has the right to a clean, accurate credit & background reports. The following list summarizes your rights.
- If any person or agency denies you something based on a flag on your background check, they must notify you.
- You have a right to a copy of your background check at any time.
- You can dispute any inaccurate information.
- The offending agency has 30 days in which to address any disputes you make
- You must give your written permission for anyone to run a background check on you.
How Long Does It Take to Dispute Background Check Errors?
Once you notify the background check agency of the error on your report, they have 30 days to fix the error or remove the offending information. If they don’t do so, you can sue them.
Can I Sue Over Errors in My Background Check?
If the background check agency does not clean up your background check within 30 days, removing anything that does not belong there, you can sue them. You might even be able to recover lost wages if you lose the job you were hired for and don’t get it back, or have to wait to continue working until your file is cleared.
It’s easiest to sue if you have the help of a lawyer. Reach out to an experienced attorney for a free consultation to discuss your case.
You have the right to an accurate portrayal of your history in your background check. Let your local consumer law firm help you make sure that what is said about you on paper is true, timely, and accurate.