Many employers run background checks on their employees, particularly when the employee will hold a position that deals with money and finances. While employment background checks are legal, there are certain steps employers must take when conducting one. When these steps are not followed, or an employee is wrongfully fired or denied employment based on a background check, employees can take action. An Akron background check attorney can help individuals recover lost wages and other damages due to an illegal background check.

Prior to the Background Check

Before any employer conducts a background check, they must inform the employee or potential employee that they are going to ask for a background report. The employer must then obtain written consent from the employee which clearly states the employee agrees to the background check. This notice and consent is typically given through a disclosure form. The form must contain clear language so the employee can fully understand what is being asked of them. When it does not, and the language is ambiguous or extraneous, it may be a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Notice to the Employee

In the event that an employer performs a background check and decides to fire an employee or not hire a potential employment candidate based on the results, they must also follow certain procedures. Before taking any employment action, the employer must provide a copy of the background check that was conducted to the employee. They must also inform the employee of their rights under the FCRA. Depending on the situation, employers may also be required to take certain actions before making a final decision to fire an employee, or deny a potential worker employment. Employers must:

  • Notify the employee that adverse action is being taken based on the background check,
  • Provide the contact information of the consumer reporting agency,
  • Notify the employee that the consumer reporting agency did not make the decision to take adverse action, and
  • Inform the employee that they can request a free copy of the background check and dispute any inaccuracies or incomplete information in the report.
When an employer has violated an employee’s rights before or after conducting a background check, employees should know they can take legal action.

Remedies Available After an Illegal Background Check

After an employer illegally performs a background check, employees can take legal action to recover damages from them. Some of the most common types of damages available in these cases include:

  • Back pay
  • Front pay or future damages
  • Lost benefits, including sick leave, health, and pension
  • Reinstatement
  • Reasonable accommodations
  • Compensatory damages
In some cases, such as when an employer has acted egregiously, punitive damages may also be available. These damages are not intended to compensate employees, but rather punish the employer for willful or shocking behavior.

Call Our Ohio Background Check Attorneys for Help with Your Case

If an employer has taken negative action against you based on a background check and they did not follow the laws as outlined above, it is important to speak to one of our Akron background check attorneys today. At Coffman Legal, LLC, we know the laws surrounding background checks and will hold employers liable when they do not comply with them. Call us today at (614) 949-1181 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our skilled attorneys and to learn more about your legal options.

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