The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently submitted written testimony to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights summarizing the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirements that relate to the use of consumer reports in employment in protecting the rights of job applicants and employees under the FCRA, according to a news release available at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/12/fcra.shtm. The FTC testimony on the FCRA – which promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information from Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) – is an example of the trend of the government increasing action against CRAs violating the law. This is Trend Number 9 of the 6th Annual ‘ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2013’ available at http://www.esrcheck.com/Top-Ten-Background-Check-Trends-for-2013.php. The FTC testimony (available at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2012/12/120712testimonyoncivilrights.pdf) describes some of the legal rights and obligations prescribed by the FCRA when consumer reports are used for employment purposes, including the following:
- CRAs must have reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of reports;
- CRAs must notify employers of their obligations under the FCRA;
- Employers have to obtain the written consent of applicants and employees before using consumer reports for employment purposes;
- Employers must provide notice to applicants and employees along with a summary of their rights under the FCRA before taking an adverse action against them based on a consumer report; and
- Consumers have the right to obtain a copy of their consumer report and dispute erroneous or incomplete information with the CRA.