Some employers try to find out about your background by hiring someone to do a “background report” on you. Among the most common are criminal background reports and credit reports. But special rules apply when an employer gets a background report about you from a company in the business of compiling background information.
1. Before getting the report, the employer must tell you that they might use the information to make a decision related to your employment and must ask for your written permission. You don’t have to give your permission, but if you’re applying for a job and you don’t give your permission, the employer may reject your application. If an employer gets a background report on you without your permission, contact the FTC at ftc.gov or at 1-877-FTC-HELP.
2. If the employer thinks they might not hire, keep, or promote you because of something in the report, they must give you a copy of the report and a “Summary of Rights” that tells you how to contact the company that provided the report. That’s because background reports sometimes have mistakes. If you see a mistake in your background report, ask the background reporting company to fix it, and to send a copy of the corrected report to the employer. Tell the employer about the mistake, too.
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