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Inaccurate Background Report Lawsuits

Lawsuits For Inaccurate Employment Background Reports 

If you've lost a job due to an inaccurate background report, you may have a legal claim.  The following list provides some helpful information about lawsuits under the Fair Credit Reporting Act for inaccurate employment background check reports.  If you have questions about a potential lawsuit, please contact the background report attorneys at Weiner & Sand for a free consultation.

What types of damages can you recover in a lawsuit against a background check company?

  • Lost Wages. The FCRA allows you to recover the wages you lost due to an inaccurate background report.  The calculation of lost wages varies on a case-by-case basis.  It includes considerations about the salary or hourly wages you would have made at the job you lost, any lost bonuses or commissions, and how long it took to find comparable employment.   
  • Emotional Distress. The stress of losing a job can be overwhelming.  When an inaccurate background report leads to denied employment, you can recover for the emotional distress that you suffer.  Oftentimes this is the most significant damage people suffer in FCRA employment cases.  Every person's emotional distress is different.  Here are common experiences many people go through:
    • Stress about paying bills
    • Stress about inability to afford groceries and provide for a family
    • Humiliation about the inaccurate information and job loss
    • Anxiety about where to find a new job
    • Lost sleep
    • Depression and sadness
    • Lost appetite
    • Headaches
    • Loss of interest in hobbies or other activities
    • Worry that the background report will cause future job losses
    • Worry that the background report may be responsible for prior job denials
    • Frustration about a damaged reputation
  • Lost Time. The time spent trying to fix the harm caused by an inaccurate background report is compensable.  People can lose many hours trying to repair the harm caused by an inaccurate background report.  This includes time drafting dispute letters, disputing over phone calls, speaking with potential employers, talking to court clerks, applying for other jobs, and trying to contain the harm of the erroneous background check.  This is time that could have been spent doing things you enjoy, and it is a recoverable type of damage in an FCRA lawsuit.
  • Statutory Damages. The FCRA allows consumer to recover statutory damages ranging from $100 to $1,000. 
  • Punitive Damages.  Punitive damages are awarded to deter future bad conduct by a defendant.  The FCRA specifies that punitive damages are available when a defendant's FCRA violation was willful.  Willfulness is legally complex concept.  It includes instances where the defendant intentionally violated the FCRA as well as when it acts in reckless disregard of the law.  The size of a punitive damages award is affected by many factors including the harm to consumers by the defendant's conduct, the defendant's size and net worth, and the egregiousness of the defendant's conduct.

What is the statute of limitations for FCRA lawsuits?

A lawsuit under the FCRA must be filed within two years of the “discovery by the plaintiff of the violation that is the basis for . . . liability” but in no event more than five years after the date of such violation.  Generally speaking this means you have two years from the date of the FCRA violation to file a lawsuit.  But if you were unaware of the violation, then you have up to five years to file a lawsuit.

How do I choose an attorney for an FCRA lawsuit?

If you've lost a job due to an inaccurate background report, you should consult with a lawyer.  Choosing the right lawyer for your case is a difficult decision.  Here are some considerations:

  1. Experience.  Does your lawyer have significant experience litigating FCRA cases? The attorneys at Weiner & Sand have been lead counsel in over 100 FCRA cases, including single plaintiff lawsuits, class actions, and arbitrations.  We are former defense lawyers who defended consumer reporting agencies and employers in FCRA lawsuits.  That experience is invaluable in our current practice, where we only represent individuals against the consumer reporting agencies and employers.  
  1. Results. Does the lawyer have a track record of success, including taking cases to trial?  We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients in FCRA litigation.  This includes confidential settlement, and jury trials.  Most cases settle.  That is the reality of litigation.  However, if a defendant refuses to settle your case for an amount that fully compensates you, then you want to retain an attorney who is willing and capable of going to trial.  The FCRA lawyers at Weiner & Sand have significant trial and arbitration experience.  
  1. Recognized by the legal community. Our FCRA attorneys have been named Super Lawyers from 2015 through 2020, a peer-nominated award given to less than 2.5% of lawyers.  They have also been recipients of awards for trial excellence, including awards from the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association.  In addition to these honors, our attorneys have been selected as speakers and authors on Fair Credit Reporting Act litigation at numerous national legal conferences including conferences held by the National Association of Consumer Advocates (multiple presentations), the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (multiple presentations), the Privacy & Technology Law Section of the Georgia Bar, the Georgia Justice Project (multiple presentations), and the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  We have also been retained as amicus counsel on behalf of the National Consumer Law Center and the National Association of Consumer Advocates to advocate for consumers' rights in FCRA class actions.  

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Even if you are not sure of the law and whether your rights have been violated, we would be pleased to discuss your concerns with you.

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