Did you know that poor credit can prevent you from getting a job? If you’re looking for employment, be sure to request your credit report and verify that your credit history is up to date and accurate. Prospective employers often run credit checks on potential employees prior to making hiring decisions, and negative listings could hurt your chances for employment.
But, employers need your written permission before they can access your credit file. During the application process, the employer should provide you with background check disclosure and authorization forms that require your signature. According to an article by the Society for Human Resource Management, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stated that these authorization forms should be free of “complicated legal jargon” or “extra acknowledgement or waivers.” You should never feel confused or misled when it comes to authorization forms that an employer or prospective employer provides in order to get your consent to view your credit.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the law that requires companies to obtain this consent prior to pulling a potential employee’s file. Attorney Rod Fliegel said, "Vigorous disputes over what wording and format satisfies the FCRA have spawned innumerable lawsuits, including dozens of massive nationwide class-action lawsuits against employers of all sizes throughout the country." Companies should keep these forms basic and easy to understand so that it’s always clear what you’re consenting to. You also have the right to see the report that the employer used as a means to determine your employment.
If a business or organization accessed your file without your consent for the purpose of evaluating you for employment, contact a consumer rights attorney to discuss your options.