Georgia Law Taking Effect July 1 Offers FCRA Protections

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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Effective July 1, 2015, a new law in Georgia – House Bill 328 (HB 328) – will enact similar protections offered to consumers under Section 613 of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The text of Georgia HB 328 is at http://www.esrcheck.com/file/GeorgiaHB328.pdf.

Georgia HB 328 will amend Part 2 of Article 15 of Chapter 1 of Title 10 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, the “Fair Business Practices Act of 1975,” by adding a new Code section to read in part as follows:

  • (b) A consumer reporting agency which furnishes a consumer report for employment purposes and which for that purpose compiles and reports items of information on consumers which are matters of public record and are likely to have an adverse effect upon a consumer’s ability to obtain employment shall: (1) At the time such public record information is reported to the user of such consumer report, notify the consumer of the fact that public record information is being reported by the consumer reporting agency, together with the name and address of the person to whom such information is being reported; or (2) Maintain strict procedures designed to ensure that whenever public record information which is likely to have an adverse effect on a consumer’s ability to obtain employment is reported it is complete and up to date. For purposes of this paragraph items of public record relating to arrests, indictments, and convictions shall be considered up to date if the current public record status of the item at the time of the report is reported.
  • (c) A consumer reporting agency shall be considered to be conducting business in this state if it provides information to any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or any other group however organized that is domiciled within this state or whose principal place of business is within this state.
  • (d) A consumer reporting agency that provides a consumer report for employment purposes that is in compliance with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act in existence on March 11, 2015, shall be deemed to have complied with this Code section.

Georgia House Bill 328 defines ‘Consumer report’ as “any written, oral, or other communication of any information bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living which is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer’s eligibility for purposes of credit, insurance, or employment.”

Georgia House Bill 328 defines ‘Consumer reporting agency’ as “any person or entity which, for monetary fees or dues or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties.”

Georgia House Bill 328 was introduced by Representatives Chuck Efstration (R-District 104), Christian Coomer (R-District 14), Chad Nimmer (R-District 178), Robert Dickey (R-District 140), and Rich Golick (R-District 40), among others.

As reported previously on the ESR News Blog, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed an Executive Order in February 2015 that made Georgia the 14th state to Ban the Box. Job applicants will no longer be required to disclose their criminal histories on job applications for state jobs.

The Order will prohibit Georgia state agencies from using a prior criminal history as an automatic disqualification for job applicants and allow them the opportunity to discuss their criminal records. The term “Ban the Box” refers to the box on job applications that applicants are asked to check if they have criminal convictions.

Background Check Updates for Georgia and Other States

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