Employment Law Advisory for 9/7/2011 - Checking Applicants’ Criminal And Credit Histories? Make Sure You Follow The Rules

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The ease of obtaining information in the current electronic age has made it very simple for employers to routinely check whether an applicant has any criminal record and also to check the applicant’s credit history. While this information can certainly be put to fair and good use by prospective employers, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), and its California counterpart, have certain notice and disclosure requirements that must be followed in order to avoid any potential liability when an employer uses this information as part of the hiring process. A recent uptick in class action litigation against employers alleging violation of the FCRA should motivate all employers to review established practices with respect to criminal background and credit history checks to make sure their process fully complies with the FCRA.

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