Nowadays, many employers are requiring their newly hired or potential employees to go through a formal background check. Background checks can be a great source of information and can prevent employers from hiring people who may not necessarily be a good fit for the job. This is especially true if the particular job has certain restrictions, such as working with children, the elderly, or other at-risk individuals.
However, sometimes background checks can have errors in them. A background check error could prevent someone from earning a job and miss out on a salary. Mistakes happen, and you should know what to do when you find a mistake in your background check.
The first step of correcting a mistake in your background report can be accomplished by yourself. Most background report companies and credit report companies will have a section of their website dedicated to this issue. You will be able to follow their internal procedures and file forms and documentation to have the error corrected. The timeframe to correct an error is supposed to take up to 30 days from the date of the filing of the forms. The company will then have an additional five days to inform you of their decision, which is either that they will not correct the report or they will correct it. If they refuse to correct the report, they are supposed to give you a reason why, or at the very least, they may request more information from you to help them make their decision.
If information in your background check cannot be verified by the company independently, then it must be deleted from your report. Once your background check report is clear of any mistakes or errors, you can require the screening company to forward the revised report to anyone who has received a report about you within the last two years. You also have the right to receive another free copy of your report within 60 days.
What Are Common Background Check Errors?
Here are some common background check errors that can prevent a job applicant from earning a job offer:
- Incorrect criminal record: Surprisingly, other people’s crimes can accidentally be placed on your permanent record. If you do not know about it, it can stay there forever until the mistake is found and fixed. If you and someone else have the same name or similar names, the mistake could occur. This is especially true if there is some other similarity, such as the same middle initial, same town or city of residence, or same age. This means that the background check company is not doing their due diligence to verify that the information is correct and to spot and correct any errors.
- Outdated Information: In every state, there is a process to have certain arrests and/or convictions expunged from your permanent record. The process of expunging an arrest or conviction is to wipe it clean from your record. Every state has laws regarding what types of crimes and arrests can be expunged and detail what the process is to have something expunged from your record. You may have gone through with this process and expunged an arrest or a conviction from your record but it still incorrectly shows up in your background report.
Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have certain federal rights when it comes to background checks:
- You must be notified if a background check or employment report has been used against you.
- You are entitled to a copy of your background check upon request.
- You have the right to dispute any errors on your background check with the appropriate authority.
- Mistakes in your background check must be corrected or removed within 30 days of your dispute.
- Employers or potential employers must have written consent from you to run a background check.
- You have the right to file a lawsuit against background check companies and consumer reporting agencies that violate the FCRA.
- Based upon the provisions of the FCRA, if your background check is incorrect and the error costs you employment, there is a chance you can file a lawsuit and recover compensation.
How Can an Attorney Help With a Background Check Error?
In many cases, you can fix the problem by yourself by using the company’s internal review process. However, in some instances, the company either does not respond to your request for a revision of the report, or they refuse to correct the report. This is where having a lawyer representing you is critical.
These reporting companies do not want to have a lawsuit filed against them if possible. Just the very threat of having a lawsuit being filed by a skilled attorney can often get the ball rolling on fixing the problem. If the company still refuses to do what is right, then your attorney can step in and help.
Pittsburgh Consumer Fraud Defense Lawyers at East End Trial Group Help Clients With Background Check Errors
A background check error can cost you a great job with a great salary. If you have found errors in a background check, you do not have to attempt to deal with it alone. Speak with one of our Pittsburgh consumer fraud defense lawyers at East End Trial Group today. Call us at 412-223-5740 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Pittsburgh, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania.