Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
A bill titled the “Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act)” awaiting consideration in the U.S. Senate would amend changes the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)” made to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The HEROES Act – which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 15, 2020 – would place a temporary moratorium on the ability of consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) to furnish certain types of adverse information during a “covered major disaster period” such as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Section 110401 of the HEROES Act would amend section 4021 of the CARES Act that covers the reporting of information during major disasters such as the “COVID–19 emergency period” that began on March 13, 2020, the date President Donald Trump declared the emergency. The HEROES Act would add these reporting restrictions:
- No person may furnish any adverse item of information (except information related to a felony criminal conviction) relating to a consumer that was the result of any action or inaction that occurred during a covered period.
- No consumer reporting agency may make any consumer report containing an adverse item of information (except information related to a felony criminal conviction) relating to a consumer that was the result of any action or inaction that occurred during a covered period.
On April 1, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – a government agency that helps businesses comply with federal consumer financial law – issued guidance to help CRAs comply with the FCRA in response to the CARES Act passed to lessen the economic impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
On April 28, 2020, a coalition of 22 attorneys general reminded the nation’s three largest CRAs that they would enforce the FCRA and CARES Act during the Coronavirus pandemic. In March 2020, the U.S. Congress enacted the CARES Act to extend relief to struggling consumers and amend the FCRA to help consumers obtain relief.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. As of June 10, 2020, there are approximately 7.2 million global cases with 411,000 global deaths, while the United States leads the world with approximately 1.9 million cases and 112,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.
Enacted by Congress in 1970, the FCRA promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information contained in the files of CRAs, protects consumers from the willful and/or negligent inclusion of inaccurate information in credit reports, and regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer information.
Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider – offers FCRA-compliant background screening solutions and white papers on how employers may avoid FCRA lawsuits and how to conduct background checks in the age of Coronavirus. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.
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