Can Your Employer Perform Background Checks on You?

Can Your Employer Perform Background Checks on You?

March, 2020

Some employers conduct background checks as part of their hiring practice, while others may ask an employee for a background check after hiring them. When asking to run these checks, employers usually want to ensure that their employees have good credit, particularly if they are working with money.

Just like many other aspects of employment, employees are not automatically required to submit to a background check just because their employer requested one. Federal law outlines specific steps employers must take when asking for a background check, and allows wronged employees to receive damages if they were wrongfully terminated due to the results of a background check.

Prior to the Background Check

Before running a background check, employers must provide a disclosure form to employees stating that the employer may request a background check. If there is irrelevant information on that disclosure form that has nothing to do with the background check, it may indicate a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). 

The disclosure form must also have a section for the employee to provide their consent to the employer conducting the background check. The employee must sign the disclosure form, which provides authorization, or otherwise authorize the background check in writing.

Can Employers Terminate Employees Based on Background Check Results?

When the results of a background check are unfavorable for the employee, the employer may have the right to terminate that worker. However, they must first take certain steps to comply with the law.

The employer must first provide the employee with notification of the adverse action they will take based on the results of the background check. Employers must also provide the employee with notification that the agency did not know why adverse action was taken. The employer must also provide the contact information of the consumer reporting agency and tell the employee that they can contact the agency and dispute any inaccuracies on their credit report.

What to do if an Employer Violates the FCRA

The laws pertaining to background checks are in place so that employees can correct inaccuracies found on reports, or explain the results of the background check to the employer. When the proper steps are not taken, employees do not have a chance to do this. 

Employers that do not uphold the rights of their employees while conducting background checks can be held liable if they take adverse action based on those results. By filing a lawsuit, employees can claim damages, attorney fees, and court costs when an employer has violated their rights. It is essential that anyone wishing to file this type of lawsuit speaks to a Columbus employment lawyer that can help with their case.

When an Employer is Wrong, Our Ohio Employment Lawyers can Make it Right

Employers in Ohio have been known to take great liberties when conducting background checks, and they are not always entitled to act in the manner they do. If an employer has run an unauthorized background check on you, or has taken illegal action after a background check was returned, your rights have been violated. Our Columbus employment lawyers at Marshall & Forman, LLC can help restore them. We know your rights under the law, and how to help you claim the compensation you need if you have been fired or refused an employment position due to background check results. Call us today or contact us online so we can start reviewing your case.