Fair Credit Reporting Act 7-year rule violations can be damaging

Many employers here in Minnesota and elsewhere across the country require their employees to undergo credit or criminal background checks, or both, before they are hired on for a job. While you may assume that this entitles them to pull your records from decades ago, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) prohibits them from doing that.

The way that the FCRA is written is that third-party background reporting companies can only provide prospective employers with criminal convictions that have occurred during the past seven years.

In addition to being expected to honor the seven-year rule, third-party consumer reporting agencies are expected to withhold an individual’s personal medical information. If they release any of this information to employers, then they may be deemed to be noncompliant with the FCRA and be assessed fines.

There is one exception to the FCRA seven-year criminal history regulation. If an individual is slated to earn more than $75,000 per year, then the seven-year rule doesn’t apply.

Employers who plan to request such a report are required to provide their applicant with a written disclosure detailing the nature of the query that will be conducted. They’re required to have them sign a document consenting to have such a report run as well.

If an employer uses any adverse information contained in a report to deny an applicant a job, then they must disclose what specific data resulted in their decision.

While federal laws like the FCRA limit employers to requesting consumer or criminal background information for an employee during only the past seven years, many employers violate these regulations. Many do so out of ignorance. Others do so in hopes that they won’t get caught.

If you suspect that a prospective employer overlooked you for a job for someone else due to adverse information on your report, then you should fight back. An attorney can advise you of legal options for doing so here in Vadnais Heights.