Court allows jilted job applicant's FCRA claim to proceed

In many jobs that people apply to, there is a customary background check so that employers can make informed decisions about future employees. In many cases, a background check is merely a formality, but offers are commonly conditioned upon a successful background check.

However, what is an employee to do in the event a background check is incorrect? Moreover, what are an employee’s rights when an erroneous search results in a job offer being revoked? A federal district court in California recently explored these questions when an applicant’s job offer was withdrawn after the agency conducting the background check presented incorrect and incomplete information about him.

The applicant brought suit against the reporting agency and the employer, alleging that he was not given a fair opportunity under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to contest the background check before adverse action was taken against him.


In ruling against a motion to dismiss brought by the employer, the court found that the applicant alleged sufficient facts that enable him to proceed with an FCRA action since he was notified of the revocation three days before he was provided with a copy of the erroneous background check.  The employer argued that no adverse action was actually taken since it was only notifying the applicant of its intent to follow through with its action, and that it did not actually take action until after the applicant received the report. Nevertheless, the court ruled that the applicant successfully stated a claim upon which relief could be granted, and that, by itself, enabled it to survive the motion.

If you have further questions about background checks and what employers may do with the information they discover, an experienced employment law attorney can help. 

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