There are various processes and screenings that potential employees often go through. Companies want to make sure that they are hiring the best candidates for positions, after all. Voluntary disclosures can lead to applicants not telling the truth and glossing over certain details, which may be troublesome in the future. Therefore, many companies prefer to conduct background checks and credit checks to see if the information the applicant gave matches the application they’ve examined. It is legal to conduct background checks and credit checks on prospective employees, but it is illegal to discriminate based on those checks. If you believe you have been discriminated against or mistreated because of a background check or credit check, contact the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group today.
Laws Preventing Discrimination
There are various laws that are in place to prevent discrimination, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This states that employers cannot discriminate based on sex, race, religion, gender, and more. There is also the Age Discrimination Act of 1967, which protects individuals over the age of 40, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which protects those who have physical or mental disabilities. California in particular has stricter anti-discrimination laws, as its protected classes include individuals with HIV, nonbinary gendered individuals, victims of sexual assault, and much more. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) governs the regulations and laws, and deals with discrimination claims.
For credit checks, employers must comply with the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The primary rule to go by is equal treatment. That is, employers should not give preference to some employees when utilizing background checks and they should not exclude others from credit checks based on certain factors. They cannot make personnel decision related to hiring, firing, retention, promotion, reassignment, and more in discriminatory ways. Employers cannot check the background of an employee simply because he is foreign, nor can they check the credit history of someone merely because he is Latino.
Employers should keep the same standards for everyone. They should not reject applicants of one ethnicity and accept applicants of another. They should not use policies that would affect specific races or ages of people, but not others. They should also be prepared to make exceptions, such as in the case of disabilities, which may arise because there are problems caused by a disability but there may be reasonable accommodations available to mitigate or erase these potential issues.
For credit checks, employers must do the following:
- Provide the applicant with a written notice that the credit information may be used to influence the decision for his employment
- The written notice must be its own document and stand alone from the employment application, and it must not be confusing or detracting from the main content
- If the employer is pursuing an investigative report from a third-party company, they must inform the applicant about the nature of the report
- Acquire written permission from the applicant for the background check
- Provide certification to the third-party company that includes the notification and permission from the applicant, compliance with all FCRA standards, and refusal to use the information to discriminate against the employee in any way or misuse the information
In order to fire, terminate, demote, or take any other adverse action against an employee because of evidence found in a background check, employers must provide workers with the following:
- A copy of the report before any action is taken
- A copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act” before any action is taken
- The reason for the termination in the report after the action
- The contact information of the business that sold the report
- Notice that the business did not give any personnel decision and cannot give a reason for it
- Awareness that the individual can dispute accuracy or contents of the report and is entitled to a free copy to be received within 60 days
If you feel like your employer or a business has discriminated against you after acquiring information in a background check or credit check, you should contact our law firm for more assistance. We’ll be able to fight on your behalf.
What to Do to Sue for Discrimination
In order to sue for discrimination based on a background check or credit check, you must acquire certain evidence to prove your claim. This is difficult at times because prospective employees do not have access to all of the information that was used in the hiring process, but if the interview process were lengthy and other individuals shared their experiences, you may be able to get everything you need.
First, you will need a copy of the report to address. This may contain inaccurate information, for one, but it can also highlight certain aspects of your history that may drive discrimination. For instance, there may be records indicating that you were arrested, but no information about the case.
You should get any emails, documents, messages, written notices, and communication items together that you exchanged with the employer. If the employer were careful, though, he would not have said anything discriminatory or hinted to anything discriminatory in his messages.
If other individuals were also interviewed and either discriminated against or offered the job, you could ask for their statements to add to your claim. You may not be able to add additional reports to compare, but if they give their consent, it is possible. This will allow you to illustrate that preferential treatment were given to one party or type of person and you were discriminated against.
Finally, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney who can handle your discrimination claim. If you have never taken legal action before, you may not know the first thing about negotiating a deal or about proving that the actions of the employer were illegal. We will be able to work around the clock to organize your case and evidence, hire expert witnesses to testify on your behalf, and establish that the law was in fact broken. You should focus on the job search or on returning to normal life while we do the legwork and all the difficult processes.
Statute of Limitations on Discrimination Claims
California has a specific statute of limitations on discrimination claims, but there is also the statute of limitations that exists for Federal claims. Federal lawsuits filed under the EEOC must be submitted within 180 days of the occurrence, while California lawsuits through the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) have a statute of 300 days. Upon receiving a right to sue letter from the agency, you have 90 days (through the EEOC) or 1 year (through the DFEH) to take legal action.
The statute of limitations is in effect so that individuals will not run out of time too quickly and so that defendants will not be a huge disadvantage years down the line. The main reason that victims fail to get the compensation they need is due to missing the statute of limitations. If you come to our firm, we guarantee that you will not miss a single deadline and all your documents will be submitted with time to spare. The sooner you file your claim, the better preserved your evidence will be, and any witness statements will be clearer.
Compensation from a Discrimination Claim
If you file a discrimination claim against an employer, you could potentially receive ample compensation for your damages. You may be able to retain some reimbursement of income that you would have received, or you could be paid for the loss of income you suffered due to missing work to go on interviews or undergo tests. You may also be able to receive pain and suffering damages and punitive damages from the employer.
Why Choose Us
The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is dedicated to the pursuit of justice for all of our clients. We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for clients throughout the years and we know the best methods for success. We will not quit on your claim until we are satisfied with the results. Our aggressive lawyers will dig in and ensure that you receive the fairest treatment available, and if we have to go to court to fight for your rights in front of a judge and jury, we are willing to do so.
For a free legal consultation, call our law offices today. All consultations are totally confidential; none of your private information or case details will be shared outside of our office walls. We will walk you through the legal process and tell you what we believe your claim is valued at. If you hire us, we’ll also make sure you pay no out of pocket expenses thanks to our zero fee guarantee. We will get paid only if we win, and if we lose, we take nothing at all.
If you were discriminated against on account of a background check or credit check, get in touch with the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group today.