What is 15 U.S.C. 1681a(y)?

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, before an employer can procure a background check on you, the employer is required to disclose that it is going to procure a background check, and must obtain your written authorization to do so.

In very limited circumstances where the employer is investigating misconduct by a current employee, the employer does not have get an authorization or make a disclosure before procuring a background check. This exception to the rule is codified at 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(y).

The Federal Trade Commission has said that this exception is “a narrow exception” that only covers “investigations of current employees, rather than investigations of both current employees and job applicants.” FTC Letter to Rod Fliegel, Esq. (Sept. 8, 2015), https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/closing_letters/nid/150908chwclosingltr.pdf. Even if an investigation covered by the exception takes place, the employer is still required to give the person affected a summary of the report after taking adverse action.

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