1. Doesn't the Fair Credit Reporting Act deal with credit reports only?
No. That is a common misconception. The Fair Credit Reporting Act covers many different types of background reports, many of which do not involve your personal credit history. For example, the FCRA regulates the use of background reports used for employment, insurance, home rentals, and other business reports.
2. My prospective employer ran a background check on me and then called me to tell me that it was rescinding my job offer because of the background report. Is there anything I can do?
Yes. While the Fair Credit Reporting Act does not require an employer to employ you, it does require that the employer provide you with a copy of your background report and a copy of your rights under the FCRA before it makes the decision to rescind the offer. If it does not do so, then it violates the FCRA.
3. My prospective employer called me to rescind the job offer, but it did not give me a copy of the background report that it used. However, I think the information in the background report is likely correct. Can I do anything?
Yes. The employer must comply with the FCRA when it uses a background report to deny you employment. Even if the information in the background report is correct, the employer still must provide you with a copy of the background report and your rights under the FCRA. After all, if you have not seen the background report, you have no way of knowing if the information is accurate, or if you're being associated with criminal record information that does not belong to you. If an employer does not provide you with a copy of the background report BEFORE deciding not to hire you - even if the information is correct - then it violates the FCRA.
4. My employer ran a background report through the local government and then denied me a job based on that background report. It didn't give me a copy of the background report. Did the employer violate the FCRA?
In this situation, the employer did not violate the FCRA. An employer must comply with the FCRA's requirements only when it uses a private third party (a consumer reporting agency) to produce the background report. If the employer used a government agency to run the background report, then it did not need to comply with the FCRA and provide you with a copy of your background report.
5. My prospective employer Googled my background and then denied me a job because of the information it found on the internet. Did the employer violate the FCRA?
No. Simply Googling one's background information does not give an employee rights under the FCRA.