Know Your FCRA Rights

Know Your FCRA Rights
FCRA law regulates credit reports and credit scores — this is widely known. But it goes much further than that. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides valuable protections for general consumers and for job applicants and employees.

FCRA violations happen in Florida more often than you think. They affect the lives and livelihoods of many people across the state every year. An FCRA lawyer can help.

Experienced FCRA Lawyers Fight for Justice

At Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., we have experienced FCRA attorneys that fight for justice when companies commit a credit report violation. We have in-depth knowledge of FCRA law and are dedicated to the rights of Florida employees.

FCRA Law and Your Rights

The Fair Credit Report Act is administered by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal agency that implements and enforces federal consumer financial law and ensures that markets for consumer financial products are fair, transparent, and competitive.

Did you know that companies cannot automatically do a background check just because you applied for a job?

There are very specific guidelines in the FCRA that companies must follow during the hiring process as well as during employment. This includes retention, promotion, and reassignment. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. When employers use your personal information to make employment decisions, such as during the hiring process, they may have committed a credit report violation.

FCRA Notice and Consent

When you are interviewing for a job or applying for a promotion, it is quite common for a company to do a credit check/background check. But — they must do it the right way. Under the FCRA, you must give your consent for reports to be provided to employers. They do not have automatic access to your personal information in your report.

The FCRA notice and consent must be in writing. Additionally, it cannot be hidden in small print at the bottom of a job application. Under the law, there must be a separate document or documents that you sign to give the potential employer the ability to perform a background check. As a standard rule, employers across industries have to follow these guidelines. Written consent generally is not required in the trucking industry.

If you did not give written consent for a potential employer to do a background check, contact an FCRA lawyer.

Right to Dispute

A company does not have the right to automatically reject you for a position if something comes up on a background check that they feel disqualifies you for that job. You are entitled to review the report and dispute the information — and the company must give you a reasonable amount of time to do that.

What this means is that you have a right to review and dispute before the company takes any adverse action against you. They must give you a notice. This is called a “pre-adverse action notice.”

Pre-adverse Action Notice 

The pre-adverse action noticeinforms an applicant or employee of the right to see information being reported to the employer in a consumer report. It also informs the individual of the right to correct any inaccurate information. Under FCRA law, the pre-adverse action notice should also include a copy of the individual’s consumer report and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Summary of Rights.

After the notice is given, the company must give you a reasonable amount of time to review and, if needed, dispute any incorrect information in the report. It is not uncommon for people to have incorrect information in their consumer reports. The standard time that is typically given to respond to the report is five business days. After that time, the company is able to provide an “adverse action notice.”

Adverse Action Notice

Under FCRA law, the adverse action notice should provide an applicant or employee with detailed, relevant information, including:

  • A copy of the consumer report.
  • The name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting company that supplied the report.
  • A statement that confirms the particular company that supplied the consumer report did not make the decision to take the unfavorable action against you and can’t give specific reasons for it.
  • A notice of your right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of any information the consumer reporting company furnished.
  • An additional free report from the consumer reporting company if you ask for it within 60 days.

Examples of items that could be included in an adverse action notice and consumer report/background check that could affect an individual getting hired or promoted (whether or not that information is correct) include:

  • Limited or no credit
  • Past or present delinquent accounts
  • Unverifiable employment
  • Foreclosures or repossessions
  • An insufficient number or invalid type of credit references
  • Bankruptcies

These could come up on your background check if you are a victim of identity theft. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your name, Social Security number, date of birth, or other identifying information, without authority, to commit fraud. This can show up in the form of a credit card account or loan opened up in your name or other accounts. If one or more of these items show up fraudulently on your background check after a potential or current employer receives your report, they must give you a reasonable time to dispute the information prior to making a decision or face potential FCRA violations.

Even if one or more of these items are valid on your background check, the company still must follow all of the rules designated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If they do not, this could be a credit report violation. You may have an FCRA case and should speak with an FCRA lawyer to determine if you should seek damages and potentially sue in state or federal court.

Examples of FCRA Violations

There are multiple actions that a company may take that could be a violation of FCRA law. Here are two examples of FCRA violations:

  1. An individual fills out an online application for a department head position at a national retail chain. They are asked to go in for an interview. While they are in the office, they sign an FCRA notice and consent for a background check. They believe the interview goes well and are waiting to hear back.

In about a week, the manager that interviewed calls and tells the individual that they did not get the job because of something on the background check. This would be an FCRA violation because the company did not give the individual a pre-adverse action notice and reasonable time to review and potentially dispute the report before the manager made the decision not to hire them.

  1. An employee who has been working at a large technology consulting firm for more than a year has an opportunity to apply for a promotion that they are well qualified to receive. The employee applies for the promotion. Approximately two weeks later, the employee is informed that the promotion was denied due to showing too much debt on their credit report. This would also be an FCRA violation because the employee was not given an FCRA notice and did not give the company the approval to perform a background check.

Were you wrongfully denied employment due to a background check? You may have an FCRA case.

Were you wrongly denied a promotion due to a background check? You may have an FCRA case.

How the FCRA Lawyers at Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. Can Help

Why are we the best choice for your FCRA case?

Our firm of dedicated law professionals works tirelessly on behalf of employees, not employers. We are employee rights attorneys who have helped thousands of people across Florida get the justice and compensation they deserve.

We understand the impact that an FCRA violation can have on individuals and their families and will work diligently to get the best outcome possible. Your ability to make a living, your career, and your financial stability matter. When faced with legal challenges, we will carefully listen to your concerns and lead as your advocate against powerful companies. We tackle any workplace violation aggressively and with you and your family in mind.

Our firm is here for you each step of the way and will communicate with you and answer any questions you may have. We are strong negotiators and litigators and understand what it takes to fight for your rights.

We Get Results

Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. has taken on large companies for FCRA violations and won. Here are several examples of our results for lawsuits challenging an employer’s practice of not providing proper disclosure and authorization prior to conducting a background check.

  • National Home Improvement Store Chain — $6,120,000 recovery for a national class of employees and applicants
  • Technology Company — $5,000,000 common fund made available for a national class of employees and job applicants
  • National Home Improvement Store Chain — $2,260,000 recovery for a national class of employees and applicants
  • Information Technology Company —$1,100,000 recovery for a national class of employees and applicants
  • National Grocery Store Chain — $802,720 recovery for a national class of employees and applicants

As you can see, when violations of your FCRA rights occur, they are probably happening to other people as well. Employers will often take actions that violate employee rights because they believe they can get away with it. But the law is on your side – and so are we. Our FCRA lawyers have a history of holding large companies accountable and getting employees and applicants the compensation they deserve.

While you are interviewing for a job or currently employed, companies also must honor other employee rights. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), any time a company uses an applicant’s or employee’s background information to make an employment decision, regardless of how they got the information, they must comply with federal laws that protect applicants and employees from discrimination.

This includes discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, or religion; disability; genetic information (including family medical history); and age (40 or older).

Contact us Today for a Free Case Evaluation

If you believe you have a case, contact us today. We have locations across the state where we can help you, including Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, and West Palm Beach.

If you are concerned about legal costs — don’t be.

Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. is a contingency law firm. We handle all our cases on a contingency fee basis. Meaning — we are only paid if we obtain compensation for you. There is no risk or obligation.

When we meet with you, we will discuss your situation. We are dedicated to employee rights and take the time to listen, answer your questions, and review the details of your case.

Employers are looking out for their best interests, and at Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., we are working hard for yours.

Call us today at 813-224-0431.

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