Can I sue for Defamation for an incorrect background check?

We receive numerous calls from applicants and employees who ask if they can sue a background check company for defamation because the background check company included inaccurate information on a background report. Sometimes the information is simply wrong – the background check contains someone’s else’s information. Sometimes the information is inaccurate – the background check lists the wrong offense. Sometimes the background check makes the offense sound worse than it was – it lists a felony, but it should list only a misdemeanor.

In most situations, there is no claim for defamation. There may be, however, a claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. When Congress enacted the Fair Credit Reporting Act, it “preempted” (i.e., disallowed) common law claims for defamation in most situations and instead allowed affected employees and applicants to pursue claims under the FCRA.

If a background check company ran a background report on you and included inaccurate information, you likely have rights to pursue under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If this has happened to you, contact the background check attorneys at The Weiner Law Firm for a consultation about your rights.