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Employment Background Screening and the Fair Credit Reporting Act

What’s in the eBook?

  • History of the FCRA
  • Employer Responsibilities
  • Before Obtaining a Background Check Report
    • Agreement to comply with the FCRA
    • Notice and Authorization to the Applicant
    • Permissible Purpose
  • The Background Check Report – What Information Can Be Included?
    • FCRA Time Limits
    • Criminal Convictions
    • State FCRA Laws
  • Employer Response to Background Report Information
    • Pre-Adverse Action
    • Adverse Action
    • Disposal of Background Check Reports
    • Scope of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • State Specific FCRA Laws
  • Additional Considerations when Screening: EEOC Guidelines
  • FCRA Terms and Definitions
  • The Bottom Line: Quick Guide to FCRA Compliance

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was enacted in 1970 to regulate the consumer reporting industry and to promote accuracy, fairness and the privacy of personal information assembled by Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) in consumer reports. Over the years it has been amended several times. The FCRA regulates the practices of CRAs that collect and compile consumer information into consumer reports for use by credit grantors, insurance companies, employers, landlords, and other entities in making eligibility decisions affecting consumers. Information included in consumer reports, which will be referred to as background check reports in this Guide, may include consumers’ credit history, criminal history and public record information such as arrests, judgments and bankruptcies, employment and education verification, and drug tests. For purposes of this Guide, it regulates background check reports that are obtained from a CRA, for employment screening purposes.

The federal agencies charged with enforcing the FCRA are the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FCRA is enforced at the federal and state levels, as well as through private litigation.

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