business owner

Background Check Errors: Protecting Your Rights and Seeking Justice

Are you aware of the impact background checks can have on your life? From employment decisions to housing opportunities, background checks play a crucial role in shaping various aspects of our lives. However, what happens when these background checks may contain errors or inaccurate information? Do you know your rights and the necessary steps to rectify the situation? In this blog post, we will explore the ins and outs of background check errors and arm you with the knowledge needed to protect your rights.

The Power of Background Checks

Picture this: you’ve submitted your application for a dream job, feeling confident about your qualifications and experience. Little did you know that behind the scenes, your potential employer is conducting a comprehensive background check to evaluate your suitability for the role.

Background checks serve as a critical tool for employers to verify information provided by applicants, ranging from employment history to criminal records and educational background. These checks assist employers in making informed decisions and ensuring a safe and reliable work environment.

Understanding Background Checks

Delving deeper into the world of background checks, let’s demystify the process. When you apply for a job, a third-party company or organization is often tasked with conducting a background check. This background check often involves gathering information about your past, including criminal records, employment history, and educational background. The collected data is compiled into a comprehensive report, which is then provided to the requesting individual or organization.

The Difference Between Background Checks and Reference Checks

Before we proceed, let’s clarify a common confusion: the difference between background checks and reference checks. While both play a role in the hiring process, they serve distinct purposes. A background check is a thorough investigation into an individual’s past, focusing on verifying information such as criminal records, employment history, and educational background.

On the other hand, a reference check involves reaching out to individuals who have worked with the applicant in the past to obtain insights into their qualifications and character.

The Impact of Background Check Errors

Background checks, while intended to provide accurate and reliable information, are not foolproof. Errors can occur, potentially leading to dire consequences for individuals. Imagine being denied employment or housing due to erroneous information on your background check. It’s essential to understand the risks associated with these background check errors and take action to protect your rights.

The ramifications of errors on your background check can be far-reaching. Individuals may face unjust employment denials, loss of housing opportunities, or damage to their reputation—all due to incorrect or outdated information. These errors can cause significant financial and emotional distress, leaving individuals feeling frustrated, angry, and overwhelmed. However, there is hope. With proper knowledge and proactive measures, you can rectify these errors and seek justice.

Your Rights: Shielding Yourself from Inaccurate Background Check Findings with the Fair Credit Reporting Act

To combat background check errors effectively, it’s crucial to be aware of your rights. Several laws exist to safeguard individuals and ensure the accuracy and privacy of background checks. One such vital legislation is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a federal law that regulates consumer credit reports and establishes procedures for background check companies to follow.

Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) are instrumental in protecting your rights throughout the background check process.

What to Do if You Discover an Error in Your Background Check

Discovering an error on your background check can be alarming, but don’t panic. There are specific steps you can take to address and rectify the situation.

Obtain a Copy of the Background Check

The first course of action is to request a copy of your background check from the company or organization that conducted it. By obtaining the report, you can thoroughly review its contents and identify any incorrect or outdated information. Here is where you can request your background check with several popular companies:

  • Checker
  • First Advantage
  • Goodhire

Review the Background Check

Carefully examine the background check report to pinpoint the specific errors or inaccuracies. Note down any discrepancies or information that does not align with your true background and experiences.

Gather Supporting Documentation

To support your dispute, gather relevant documentation that proves the incorrect or outdated information. This could include court records, proof of expungement, or any other evidence that substantiates your claim.

Contact the Background Check Company

Communication is key. Reach out to the background check company responsible for the inaccurate report. Explain the error clearly and provide the supporting documentation you’ve gathered. Request that they correct or remove the incorrect information from your background check.

The Importance of Acting Swiftly

Timing is of the essence when dealing with background check errors. Acting promptly is crucial to prevent further complications. Incorrect information on your background check can result in missed employment opportunities, housing denials, or even legal repercussions. By taking immediate action, you can mitigate the potential negative impact on your life.

The Role of an Attorney

In some instances, background check companies may refuse to correct or remove the error, even after your dispute. This is where seeking legal counsel becomes valuable. Consulting with an attorney, such as the experienced professionals at Barthel Legal, APC, can provide you with the guidance and support needed to navigate complex legal proceedings.

Can You Fix Your Background Check Without an Attorney?

While it is possible to dispute background check errors without legal representation, it can be challenging. Resolving these matters often requires a deep understanding of the law and a comprehensive approach. An attorney specializing in consumer protection and in background check error disputes can significantly enhance your chances of a successful outcome.

The Affordability of Legal Representation

Concerned about the potential cost of hiring an attorney? Fear not. In many cases, attorneys like Barthel Legal, APC, handle background check dispute cases on a contingency basis. This means that you won’t have to bear any upfront costs or out-of-pocket expenses. Attorneys will cover the litigation costs and their fees will be paid by the background check company if you win your case.

It’s important to recognize the power of the law in protecting consumers’ rights. The provision for the recovery of attorneys’ fees in consumer protection laws serves as a vital safeguard. It levels the playing field and enables individuals who may not have the financial resources to pursue justice to seek legal representation without financial strain.

Seeking Justice and Obtaining Damages for the Background Check Error

If a background check company includes an error in your report and refuses to rectify it, you may be entitled to damages. Pursuing legal action can hold these companies accountable for their negligence or misconduct.

Types of Damages

When seeking justice for faulty results in your background check, several types of damages may be available to you:

  1. Emotional Distress Damages: If the background check mistake caused you significant emotional distress, such as anxiety, embarrassment, or damage to your reputation, you may be eligible for compensation.
  2. Statutory Damages: In some incidents, consumers are entitled to statutorily awarded damages ranging from $100 up to $30,000.
  3. Punitive Damages: In cases where the background check company’s conduct was particularly egregious or intentional, punitive damages may be awarded. These damages serve as a form of punishment and deterrence.
  4. Legal Fees and Costs: If you choose to pursue legal action and are successful, you may be entitled to reimbursement for the attorney’s fees and costs incurred during the process.

Filing a Lawsuit

To initiate legal proceedings, you will need to file a lawsuit against the background check company. An attorney specializing in background check disputes can guide you through this process and help build a strong case on your behalf.

The Importance of Legal Representation

Having legal representation is crucial when seeking justice and obtaining damages for an inaccurate background check. An experienced attorney will navigate the legal complexities, gather evidence, negotiate with the background check company, and advocate for your rights, increasing the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

Take Action and Protect Your Rights

Dealing with a background check company can be distressing, but it’s important to take action to correct inaccuracies and protect your rights. Follow the steps outlined in this guide and seek legal representation when necessary to navigate the process effectively and seek justice for any damages suffered.

Remember, resources are available to support you in rectifying the flawed background check and holding responsible parties accountable.

Contact Barthel Legal today to discuss your situation and explore your legal options. Our dedicated team is well-versed in consumer protection laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and other relevant statutes. We have a proven track record of fighting for consumers and holding companies accountable for their inaccurate background check results.

Take control of your situation and ensure your rights are protected.

Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.