What are the most common background check problems?

Employment background reports are notoriously problematic, as both employers and background check companies struggle to comply with the FCRA. Some common problems include:

  • Mixed files – criminal records belonging to someone with the same or similar name ending up on your report
  • Incorrect information – criminal record information being reported incorrectly, such as with incorrect disposition information (“guilty” instead of “not guilty,” for example), incorrect severity (misdemeanors reported as felonies, for example).
  • Reporting of expunged or sealed charges – if a criminal record or conviction has been expunged or sealed, it should not be included on a background report
  • Alternative dispositions misreported – many states have diversion or other alternative disposition programs, in which a conviction can be avoided if an inidividal meets certain conditions over a period of time (such as avoiding additional criminal charges for a year). Participation in these programs can sometimes be mis-reported as a conviction.
  • Duplicative reporting – criminal records can be included on the same report multiple times, making a criminal record look longer than it actually is.

These and other errors are why the law requires that you be notified and provide your authorization before an employer pulls your background check. It is also why the law requires that you be provided with notice and a copy of your report before an employer takes any sort of adverse action against you, such as not hiring you, not promoting you or firing you.

If your report contains one of the errors above, or if your employer did not follow the required procedures, please feel free to contact us for an a free evaluation of your potential case.

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