You may have a claim if employment background check errors cost you a job

By law, prospective employers must let you fix employment background check mistakes

Employment background check errors typically aren’t on your mind when you apply for your dream job. You know you’re in the clear. You survive the interviews. Your future employer is excited about hiring you and says that she just needs a quick background check. Then, a week later, you receive a notice from a credit bureau about an adverse action on your credit report that describes a criminal conviction that is not yours. That’s followed by a letter stating that you’ve been passed over for your dream job. How could this happen?

What Should I Do If I Am a Victim of an Employment Background Check Error?

Immediately, you need to determine if the employer strictly followed the required procedure for employers in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Several major companies have been sued in class action lawsuits for not complying with these requirements. Some have settled, for example, Avis for $2.7 million, Target for $8.5 million, and Uber for $7.5 million. Cases are pending against others including Amazon, Home Depot, and Starbucks.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Before it requested my consumer report, did the employer give me a written, stand-alone notice that it might use the information from the consumer report in making their employment decision?
  2. Did the employer get written authorization from me to obtain your consumer report?
  3.  Before it sent me the letter rejecting my job application, did the employer send me a copy of the report and a copy of A Summary of Your Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act?  This serves to give me time to review the report and notify the employer if it is correct.
  4. Did the employer subsequently give me an adverse action notice containing the name and contact information of the consumer reporting agency that prepared the report and statements that this agency did not take the unfavorable action against me and that I have the right to dispute the report and to get a new report?

If the employer did not follow these procedural steps, you may have a claim against it. You should consult an experienced employment lawyer. You may be entitled to civil penalties in the amount of $1,000 and actual damages (including emotional distress). In addition, punitive damages, plus attorneys’ fees and costs, may be recovered where there is “willful noncompliance” with the Act.

Common Mistakes On Employee Background Checks:

Background checks are susceptible to errors. Individuals who handle public and private data about you can make mistakes and computer systems can also fail to to be accurate. Here are some of the most common causes for inaccurate info showing on your report:

  1. Wrong or incomplete data in original documents
  2. Typos such as number transposition
  3. Copying, filing, and search mistakes
  4. File corruption in computer system
  5. Duplicate information
  6. Outdated negative information
  7. Mistaken identity
  8. Identity theft

How Do I Dispute Background Check Mistakes?

  • First, demand a copy of the report from your employer who must give it to you. Frequently, an employer hires a consumer screening company to compile the report. If so, the employer must give you the name and contact information of the company.
  • Second, check the report for errors. Some errors result from clerical mistakes, such as transposing numbers or misreading handwriting, confusion caused by similar names, incorrect or incomplete data provided by the applicant, outdated credit information, or identity theft. If the employer or screening agency made the mistake, it must correct it immediately.
  • Third, if it did not make the mistake, you must obtain the correct information from the source. The employer may have requested credit, criminal, and education reports. For example, you will contact the credit report agency to correct erroneous information in your credit report and may have to contact a law enforcement agency or court to correct a false criminal report.
  • Fourth, provide this information to the employer and to the screening company. Demand that they change the report and provide you with a copy.

Be Proactive to Avoid Workplace Background Check Errors

  • Check and correct your credit report annually,
  • Consider buying a background check on yourself from a reputable screening company before you apply for the job you want or need. This gives you time to correct false information before it robs you of a job opportunity or shreds your reputation.

Contact an Experienced Labor Law Attorney if You Believe You Are a Victim of Employment Background Check Error

To get the money you deserve, call Lemberg Law at 855-301-2100. Our employment lawyers will review your case and give you no-nonsense answers to your questions.


  • Jessica W

    Job offer recessed after incorrect background screen results. Was told this was the reason and to disputed it when I asked hr. They corrected it but got email last night because of check no longer was considered

  • Eli

    I went to a job interview thinking I was going to get a job placement. The job tricked me into paying a background check out of my own pocket by saying that the money will be for my state license. Now I can’t cancel a background check. What should I do now?

  • Josh M

    I applied for a job and in the second interview I was asked if I had anything on my record I told him no so they did the background check and he told me if anything came back and I did not explain it to him now that they would not hire me so they did the background check I had something on there that I adjudicated withheld which means it was Shield and that I did not plead guilty in the background check company messed up and sent the information to the company that I adjudicated guilty which means they told them that I plead guilty to a felony when I never did so I had the background check company fix it and I ended up getting a letter saying that after they received the updated version they were going to go ahead and not hire me because of what they pretty much seen on the first one they didn’t even take into the account that the first one was voided and now I’m without that job that I really wanted and was excellent pay because the wrong information was sent to them the first time

  • Alex C

    I wasn’t hired due to a felony charge on background check I have never been charged with any felonies

  • Dona w

    My granddaughter has the same complete name spelled the same all that but of course she is of a mixed race and different s. S number and different birthdays but she applied for a job they ran a background check on her but my felony charges and info showed up on her background check so there for she couldn’t get that job and she said she can’t pull up some info she needed from the irs as for its showing my stuff with hers again I need help to fix this so that it will stop causing her issues thanks

  • Mark F

    I have a grand theft by check that is 29 years old,and a felony meth possession 7 years old. I was not given the promotion at dollar tree. The guy they gave it t has a felony DUI less than 3 years old.

  • David B

    I just received a phone call from a recruiter from a company I am applying to, and he told me that my background check came back with a felony GTA back in 2012. I have never been arrested, let alone charge of a felony. The recruiter then informed me that he wasn’t supposed to disclose that information, and that he will be sending me a letter informing me of the background check findings. I am confused, because I have literally just receive confirmation (2 weeks ago) from the Department of Homeland Security that I passed a pre-employment background check for a TSA job as well. What can I do about this other background check? I am very worried/ upset that I will not only lose this potential job, but also have damaging records on my personal background.

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