In the modern world, it’s nearly impossible to get work in most fields or even rent an apartment without submitting to a background check. This requirement keeps employers and property owners free from certain kinds of legal liability, but it also excludes huge portions of the population that have marks on their record.
Individuals who do have reasonably clear histories are aware that a clean background check can mean the difference between getting a good job or not, or qualifying to rent a home in a competitive housing market. When background checks come back with erroneous information, people who would otherwise qualify for some position or opportunity may miss out in an important, harmful way.
Those who face losses because of background check errors face two challenges, to not only amend the inaccurate report but also right the wrong they suffered because of the report. Dealing with both of these issues requires a strong legal strategy that keeps the victim’s personal rights intact while seeking fair compensation from whichever parties caused or ignored the errors.
Correcting the report
Before you can successfully seek compensation for an erroneous background report, it is important to correct the errors. Otherwise, they may cause more damage and keep you from finding or keeping a job and a home.
Similar to credit reporting agencies, organizations that provide background checks must investigate any complaint that you make about an inaccuracy within 30 days of receiving the complaint. If an error requires little verification, such as a case of mistaken identity, simply reporting the error to the agency may resolve the issue. However, if the error is more complicated, you may need to provide additional verification to the organization that it is, in fact, an error.
If the organization does not correct the report accurately, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which regulates background checks.
Obtaining fair compensation
Depending on the seriousness of the loss you suffer from an inaccurate background check, you may deserve many different kinds of compensation. Take care to craft a strong claim against the organization or agency that created the report to include all of the aspects of your life affected by the report, to demonstrate just how far-reaching such an error often is.
You can even extend your legal fight into the workplace or housing market, returning to potential or former employers or rental agencies to show that the background check was not correct, and possibly get another chance at the employment or housing that you want. Do not hesitate to fight for fair treatment, especially when it comes to anonymously compiled background checks.