New York, NY asked in Employment Law and Employment Discrimination for Alabama

Q: Can an employer rescind a job offer on the basis that something might show on background report?

I had an interview with an insurance company which went extremely well, and I was immediately offered a position. I went back in to fill out paperwork, and I was asked if I had ever been convicted of a felony. I was honest and said yes. Eleven years ago I was convicted of class c possession. No time was served and I only had to serve 1.5 years out of 3 years probation because I did so well. It is my only problem (except a couple of speeding tickets from youth). They would not let me finish the application because of this. I had already researched laws for licensing, and the Commission can excuse this and let me become licensed. However, when I told them this, I was told there were state laws and also company rules. Can they stop me from even finishing the application because of this charge from 11 years ago might show up? I have been hired previously by 2 other companies with background checks, and nothing was ever said (I told them up front anyway. I have to be honest!).

1 Lawyer Answer
Anthony Rocco Pecora
Anthony Rocco Pecora
  • Employment Law Lawyer
  • Avon, OH

A: An employer may use a background report to assist it in making employment decisions. HOWEVER, since background reports or background "checks" are considered consumer reports under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), employers must follow specific rules when not only using the reports but also obtaining the reports. These rules, generally are as follows:

1) The employer must obtain your written consent to pull your report. Your report contains sensitive data (credit history, employment history, and potentially criminal records.) Because of this, Congress required under the FCRA that employers first obtain your informed consent to receive your report; THEN

2) Once the employer gets the report, and it determines that it may use the report to deny employment (or fire an existing employee) it MUST first provide a copy of the report to the applicant or employee and provide that person with a meaningful opportunity to address or dispute the report. THis must happen BEFORE any final employment decision is made.

An employer that fails to follow these rules may be liable to pay lost wages or other financial damages for the violation of the law.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.