What If the Employer Finds Something Negative in Your Background Report
If your background report has some negative information, be prepared to explain it — and the reason it shouldn’t affect your ability to do the job. Here is a description of your rights, depending on what type of negative information the employer finds:
Criminal History or Other Public Records
If you don’t get hired or promoted because of information in your criminal history or other public records, the employer must tell you orally, in writing, or electronically:
the name, address, and phone number of the company that supplied the criminal history or public records report;
that the company that provided the information didn’t make the decision to take the adverse action and can’t give you specific reasons for it; and
that you have the right to dispute the accuracy and completeness of any information in the report, and to get an additional free report from the company that supplied it, if you ask for it within 60 days of the employer’s decision not to hire or retain you.
The company that provided the employer with negative information from a criminal history or other public records has certain obligations to make sure the information is accurate.
Credit Report & Financial Information
If an employer decides not to hire, keep, or promote you based on financial information in a background report, it must tell you — orally, in writing, or electronically. Specifically, the employer must:
give you the name, address, and phone number of the company that supplied the credit report or background information;
give you a statement that the company that supplied the information didn’t make the decision to take the adverse action and can’t give you any specific reasons for it; and
give you a notice of your right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of any information in your report and to get an additional free report from the company that supplied the credit or other background information if you ask for it within 60 days.
Race, National Origin, Color, Sex, Religion, Disability, Genetic Information, Age
Sometimes, it’s legal for an employer not to hire you or keep you on because of information in your background, and sometimes, it isn’t. For example, it’s illegal when the employer has different background requirements depending on your race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), or age, if you’re 40 or older. It’s also illegal for an employer to reject applicants of one ethnicity with criminal records for a job, but not to reject other applicants with the same criminal records.
Even if the employer treats you the same as everyone else, using background information still can be illegal discrimination. For example, employers shouldn’t use a policy or practice that excludes people with certain criminal records if it significantly disadvantages individuals of a particular race, national origin, or other protected characteristic, and doesn’t accurately predict who will be a responsible, reliable, or safe employee. In legal terms, the policy or practice has a “disparate impact” and is not “job related and consistent with business necessity.”
If you think an employer discriminated against you based on information in your background report, message here.