Amazon Background Checks: Everything You Need to Know

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  • Amazon Background Checks: Everything You Need to Know
19 Apr, 2024
Daniel Cohen
20 min
1157
A sad man sits on the couch near his laptop

If Errors in Your Amazon Background Check Caused a Job Rejection, Learn Why and How to Get Help Today.

Were you excited to work for Amazon but rejected due to a failed background check report with inaccurate, misleading, or false information? Losing out on a job you want is terrible, but losing out on a job due to bad data is even worse! Learn about the Amazon background check process, why mistakes happen, what to do next, and how we can help!

Did you just learn that you must submit to an Amazon background check as part of a candidate screening process? Were you recently informed that your employment application was rejected due to information that surfaced in your background check with Amazon? Did you discover that your rejection from an Amazon job was due to errors in your background check report?

Pre-employment background checks are increasingly common in our digital age. The ease and affordability of using algorithms to find, sift, and sort consumer data enables employers to scratch beneath the surface of job candidates across a wide array of positions.

Unfortunately, this increase in data analytics for job candidates has also resulted in an increase of erroneous information making its way into pre-employment reports, including Amazon employment background checks.

I’ll explain what you need to know to understand the Amazon background check process, why these mistakes happen, how to correct the errors, and how we can help you get compensation if you suffered financial or emotional harm. Keep reading to get informed and take action!

About Amazon

Amazon is one of the largest retailers in the world. With a vast range, it sells a seemingly endless array of goods and services. Though primarily an online retailer, it also operates Amazon-branded brick-and-mortar retail space in several states in the U.S. and owns and operates several dozen other recognizable brands, including Whole Foods, Audible, Ring, Zappos, Office Depot, and others.

Amazon employs over one million people in the United States in positions ranging from warehouse workers and delivery drivers to creatives and executives.

Does Amazon Do Background Checks?

Yes, Amazon conducts pre-employment background checks on all candidates before hiring. This is true regardless of position, salary, location, etc. However, the nature and extent of the background check differs based on the job in question.

For instance, driving records and motor vehicle violations are critical information when hiring a delivery driver but are not necessarily relevant to an office position.

Amazon Background Check: What is it?

The Amazon background check is a category of screening undertaken as part of the hiring process. Once candidates advance to the final stage of the hiring process, this pre-employment screening tool is used to determine whether any factors in their background disqualify them from employment with Amazon in the position they applied for.

See below to learn details about what is included in an Amazon background check report.

Whose Background Does Amazon Check?

Amazon maintains a policy of checking the background of all job candidates before hiring. However, not all candidates are subject to the same screening.

Who Does Amazon Use for Background Checks?

Like most employers who run background checks, Amazon contracts with third-party companies to perform the screenings and provide a report. There are dozens of companies offering this service, and Amazon appears to use several different ones.

Amazon has been known to use Sterling Infosystems, Accurate, and First Advantage for background checks. You will know which company is performing your background check because they are typically done through the background check company’s proprietary web platform. You will be issued a link or log-in information and asked to complete the intake.

The information you provide will then be used to complete the background screening.

Is it Safe for Me?

Likely, Amazon will not hire you if you refuse to submit to a required background screening. So, determining whether the background check is “safe” for you is a personal decision.

You will likely have to submit to the screening if you need or want the position. If you are not that concerned with whether you get a job with Amazon, you may opt to apply elsewhere rather than submit to the check.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Not every criminal offense or other problematic events in your background will necessarily disqualify you from consideration. Many people with challenging events in their background check reports can still secure work with Amazon and other companies. A number of factors will be considered, and Amazon may ask for further explanation.
  • The look-back period for specific events, such as criminal histories and driving records, is limited. Generally, it is a seven-year look-back period, though this can change depending on the nature of the position and relevant state laws.
  • Though data errors are reported in background screenings by companies nationwide every day, most reports are accurate. The sheer volume of reports generated annually means that even if a relatively small percentage of reports contain errors, thousands of applicants can be impacted.

    These errors, as you may already know, DO happen, and research indicates that up to one-third of consumers are impacted by reporting errors in their lifetime. However, this includes credit reports and others, not just background checks. So, while errors may be reported, it is still more likely than not to be accurate.

When Does Amazon Do Background Checks?

Amazon runs background checks after the candidate pool has been narrowed to a final candidate or several final candidates. So, you may move effortlessly through the application process and learn that the final step involves a background check.

Also, depending on the nature of the position, an offer of employment may be extended prior to the background check but contingent on successful completion.

Can You Drive for Amazon Without a Background Check?

No. As a matter of policy, Amazon completes background checks on all employees, including all drivers.

What Does Amazon Look for in a Background Check?

Like most background checks, Amazon’s is customizable to the specific position in question and can include a range of categories. In addition, certain categories of information require your specific authorization for Amazon to complete the screening. For instance, employment, education, and references are provided by you through the application process and can be checked without prior consent. However, criminal history, credit profile, and drug screening require authorization.

Among the potential categories of information reviewed are:

  • Criminal History
  • Driving History
  • Credit Profile
  • Educational History and Verification
  • Employment History and Verification
  • Reference Verification
  • Drug Screening

Driving History

Since Amazon employs many drivers, locally and nationwide, the driving history component of its background screening is directly relevant to many applicants. Those working as drivers through the Amazon Flex platform are also subject to these screenings.

Driving history will include anything reportable from the Department of Motor Vehicles in each state you lived in during the relevant look-back period (usually seven years).

Amazon Criminal Background Check

Criminal background checks can vary depending on which company Amazon uses for a given check and how Amazon chooses to customize the search criteria. In addition, the reporting of criminal history is commonly regulated at the state level, so types of information or look-back periods may be dictated by applicable laws as well.

Among the categories of information that can be included in the criminal history portion of a background check are:

  • Local, state, and federal charges, convictions, and dispositions.
  • Level, degree, or class of offense.
  • Parole information.
  • Sexual offender status and registry information.
  • Federal and global watchlist status.

So, if you’re wondering if your Amazon background check includes misdemeanors, the answer is yes. Note that for criminal history reporting, it is a common problem that certain information is reported in a way that is misleading or inaccurate. For instance, if you were charged with an offense that was later dropped or dismissed, it is critical that the report accurately reflects this disposition.

How Far Back Do Amazon Criminal Background Checks Go?

Amazon criminal background checks generally rely on a seven-year look-back period. This means that any offenses, charges, or criminal activity that occurred prior to the look-back period should not be reported.

How Does Amazon Interpret What They Find in Background Checks?

As a matter of policy, Amazon does hire applicants with criminal records, including felony convictions. However, for candidates who are felons, the nature of the specific crime, the amount of time between conviction and application, and the nature of the position applied for are relevant to Amazon’s consideration.

For instance, a recent felony conviction for a violent crime is likely to be a disqualifying event. A prior conviction for a drug-related felony that is six years old is not necessarily disqualifying.

Amazon Background Check: How Long Does it Take?

Is your Amazon background check in progress? It can be completed within twenty-four hours or take two weeks or more. However, an Amazon background check is typically completed within three to ten days.

The length of time that background check takes can vary depending on the company that is conducting the screenings (the third party company hired by Amazon to complete the check), the nature and extent of the review required for the specific position, and the nature of the specific candidate’s background.

Why is Your Amazon Background Check Taking So Long?

Does it seem like your Amazon background check is taking forever? There are several reasons it can take longer than expected. For the most part, delays arise out of problems with data gathering, reviewing, and sorting.

Scope of data.

Background check companies by data from companies that have direct relationships with you (such as banks, credit card companies, service providers, and others) and third-party companies that use algorithms to scour electronic resources for data (such as public records, court records, and others).

If a candidate has a particularly eventful background dilled with lots of interstate moves, lots of employers, lots of educational history, etc., it can take longer to gather and sort data.

Data differentiation.

Some candidates have very common names or relatives with very similar names. If you have a name or other personally identifying factor, the algorithms searching for your data may pull in data belonging to other people. If a background check company is using due diligence and seeking to report only accurate information (as required by law), it may need to use additional layers of review, including human review to differentiate your data from any non-relevant data.

Volume of screenings.

If you happen to be screened at a time when a large volume of other candidates are submitting for background checks as well, the volume can slow the process for all applicants.

Different Statuses of Amazon Background Checks

Since Amazon uses third-party companies to run its pre-employment background checks, the status designations will vary depending on which company performs your background check. Whichever company you use, you will have access to a background check platform through that company.

You will access the platform to input all of the information required to perform a background check, including answering questions and providing documentation or identity verification as required. This same platform should also allow you to log in to your account while the background check is pending and determine the status of your results.

The status of background checks is not usually limited to updates on whether it’s pending or completed. Rather, there tend to be more nuanced status designations that let you know whether something is in review, information is still being gathered, etc.

How to Check the Status of Your Amazon Background Check

To check the status of your Amazon background check, you should sign in to the platform that you utilized to complete the background check intake process. For instance, if you were assigned to use Accurate as the background check company, use your login credentials to access the Accurate candidate platform and check your status. Similarly, if you were assigned to use First Advantage or another company, you would sign in with that company’s screening platform to check your status.

Amazon Says My Background Check Needs Attention

If you receive an email or other communication from Amazon stating that your background check needs attention, this is usually an indication that information or documentation may be missing or incomplete. Depending on the company you used for your background check, “needs attention” and “suspended” can mean the same thing.

You should log in to the online platform operated by the company that completed your background screening to check your status and provide any additional information.

Amazon Background Check Suspended. What it Means

If you receive an email or other communication from Amazon stating that your background check is suspended, this is usually an indication that information or documentation may be missing or incomplete. Depending on the company you used for your background check, “suspended” and “needs attention” can mean the same thing.

You should log in to the online platform operated by the company that completed your background screening to check your status and provide any additional information.

Amazon Background Check Problems

Two main categories of problems can arise from a background check for Amazon.

  1. Problematic background history emerges that is fully accurate, reportable in accordance with state law, and disqualifying. In other words, you were rejected from Amazon due to accurate information in your background check that was legally reportable and disqualifying in accordance with Amazon’s policies.

    When this scenario occurs, you can attempt to dispute the final determination, but it is up to Amazon whether to consider context or other extenuating circumstances and reconsider the hiring decision.

  2. Problematic background history emerges that is inaccurate, misleading, or false. This can include information that, by law in the state where you reside, should not have been reported due to time limits or other factors. If wrongful information or data is reported in your Amazon background check, you have the right to dispute the errors, have them corrected, and file a lawsuit seeking compensation for any financial or emotional harm you suffered as a result.

    Notably, you likely do NOT have a right to sue Amazon or force them to hire you for a position, including the one you had originally applied to. By relying on a reputable third party background check company, Amazon is operating in good faith when it accepts as accurate the information presented in your background check report. If that information is not accurate, your right to sue is targeted to the company that prepared the mistaken report.

How to Dispute a Rejected Amazon Background Check

Was your Amazon background check denied? If your Amazon background check failed to qualify you for the position you applied to, you may be able to dispute the results. Consumer reports of all kinds, including background check reports, are regulated under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)and other comparable state laws. No matter which company completes your background screening, you have the same rights.

Your Rights Under the FCRA

  1. Consent. A background check company can only complete a screening on you with your express consent. You have the right to be informed and to authorize the search.
  2. Accuracy. Only accurate information can be included in your report.
  3. Review. You have the right to review any consumer report run on you, including an Amazon background screening. You may be able to select automatic receipt of a copy as soon as it is complete, or you can request one.
  4. Informed Rejection. If you are rejected due to information that surfaced in your background report, you have a right to know exactly which information was relied on to deny you the job.
  5. Free Credit Review. Once per week, you have the right to review your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus without any out-of-pocket cost. If you contest the data in your failed background check, we recommend requesting and reviewing all three credit reports to help determine the extent of the errors.

    There are three ways to request a copy: online at annualcreditreport.com, by phone at 877-322-8228, or by mailing a request form, which can be printed at annualcreditreport.com. Online requests should only be made through the above government-verified site.

  6. Dispute. You have a right to dispute any information in your Amazon background check report. The company that performed the screening is obligated to provide a dispute procedure and does so through its website. (See below for more info and cautionary advice.)
  7. File a lawsuit. You have a right to file a lawsuit seeking error correction and compensation for any reporting mistakes that caused you harm.
  8. Covered legal fees. The FCRA makes the background check company pay for your legal fees and costs if you win.

How to Dispute Your Amazon Background Check Report

  1. Contact a consumer protection lawyer. An attorney will guide you through this process, protect your rights, navigate the legal landscape, and help prevent some of the hazards that characterize this area of the law, including delays, stalls, insufficient and ineffective investigation, and failure to correct the error.
  2. Review your background check report in depth. Highlight, circle, and make notations on anything that is inaccurate, misleading, or false. Look at dates, names, locations, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and other identifying details.

    Information that is true but mischaracterized or misrepresented is also considered to be inaccurate under the FCRA.

  3. Dispute errors. Dispute the error with the background check company. Under the FCRA, each company must provide the means for you to file a dispute. This frequently includes a link to an online dispute platform or options to file a dispute via phone or mail.

    We recommend filing your dispute and providing all documentation through certified mail. Online dispute platforms frequently require that you waive your right to file a lawsuit in order to use the platform. This is not advisable since you have no idea at this point whether you will need to file a lawsuit. Also, using certified mail is the best way to keep track of everything sent and received.

    Take very careful and detailed notes and retain a copy of the complete set of letters and documentation that you send to the company to support your dispute.

  4. Provide documentation. Provide any documentation that you have supporting your position. Again, do so through certified mail, retaining copies of everything sent. (Also, don’t send originals of important documents! Only copies are required.)
  5. Notify Amazon of your dispute. It may not change the outcome, but Amazon may hold the position pending the outcome of your dispute. They have no legal obligation to do so, but it is still worth notifying them via phone, email, or letter.
  6. Review your credit reports in depth. Once you discover inaccurate, misleading, or false information in any consumer report about you, whether it's a background check or something else, reviewing your credit reports from all three credit bureaus is a good idea. (See above for how to get copies of your credit reports.)
  7. The dispute may be just the beginning. In data error disputes, stalls, delays, and deadends are frequent. If you haven’t already done so, contact a consumer protection lawyer today, like those at Consumer Attorneys! Knowing the dispute process is only half the battle. Knowing your rights under the law, how to enforce them, and how to get compensation for your damages is everything.

Why You Should Dispute a Rejected Background Check

You should dispute a rejected background check if the information on which the rejection was based is inaccurate, misleading, or false. Under the FCRA and other relevant federal and state laws, you have the right to accurate reporting when it comes to your background check.

In addition, it is very possible that if your Amazon background check report includes wrongful or erroneous information, other background check reports will, too. You need to discover, dispute, and correct errors so that you are never again faced with unjust and unfair hiring decisions.

What are the Chances of Amazon’s Decision Being Reversed?

There is absolutely no way to determine the chances of Amazon reversing its hiring decision. It is possible, and it does happen, that Amazon or other employers will re-evaluate or a hiring decision under certain circumstances, but it is entirely up to Amazon.

When you notify Amazon of your dispute over the information presented in your background check report, it is helpful to be specific in clarifying exactly which information is wrong and why. Depending on the clarity around the mistake, the nature of the error, the nature of the position, and Amazon’s time frame for hiring, it is possible to salvage your chances.

However, it is more likely than not that you will lose out on the particular opportunity you applied for. When this happens, you may find yourself having to take a lesser-paying position somewhere else, being without a job altogether, accruing missed payments or debts as a result, suffering emotional and mental stress, and other harms. If any of this happens to you, contact Consumer Attorneys to discuss your next steps and create a plan for getting back to good.

Who Can Help You with Disputing an Amazon Background Check?

The lawyers at Consumer Attorneys can help you dispute your Amazon background check.

If you have been adversely impacted by hiring or firing decisions based on inaccurate, misleading, or false information in an Amazon background check report, there are many benefits to working with one of the lawyers at Consumer Attorneys, including having the option to file a lawsuit to uphold your rights.

Consumer Attorneys is a nationwide consumer protection law firm with over seventy-five years of combined experience protecting consumers like you through lawsuits and advocacy. We have helped thousands of clients recover from the final and emotional toll of data reporting errors.

Our skilled and experienced lawyers know the law and the tactics used by background check companies to stall, delay, and evade responsibility. We know that investigations into disputed information are frequently delayed, inadequate, or wrong.

Lawsuits Against Amazon Background Check Companies

If you’ve completed a pre-employment background check with a third party as part of the application and hiring process with Amazon but were rejected due to inaccurate, misleading, or false information in your background check report and suffered financial or emotional harm as a result, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the company that harmed you.

Notably, you won’t file a lawsuit against Amazon unless they report your erroneous background information to other parties. Otherwise, the target of your lawsuit is the company that produced the inaccurate background check report.

Wrongful Criminal Information

Our client, Jeremy, applied for a job with Amazon because it offered a significant signing bonus. Amazon offered Jeremy the position, contingent on a background check. Confident that he would get the job, Jeremy was unconcerned about the background screening because he had nothing in his history that would be problematic. However, Jeremy was shocked to learn he’d been rejected from the position due to a shoplifting conviction reported in his background screening.

The shoplifting conviction was for an individual sharing the same first and last name as our client, but absolutely nothing else about them was the same. The person who actually committed the shoplifting offense lived in a state that Jeremy had never lived in and had a different birthdate, Social Security number, middle name, etc. This erroneous reporting resulted in Jeremy missing a job opportunity and a meaningful signing bonus and caused him mental and emotional stress.

By demonstrating that the background check company had failed to implement review protocols sufficient to produce an accurate report, we successfully sued on Jeremy’s behalf and won a sizeable settlement.

Contact Us Today!

With no out-of-pocket cost to you, there is nothing to lose in discussing your Amazon background reporting error with one of our skilled consumer protection lawyers today!

There are several ways to reach us: call (+1 877-615-1725), email ([email protected]), fill out the online intake form, or use the virtual chat option to speak with us today.

From coast to coast, we’re right where you need us to be.

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Daniel Cohen
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Daniel Cohen is the Founder of Consumer Attorneys. Daniel manages the firm’s branding, marketing, client intake and business development efforts. Since 2017, he is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the National Consumer Law Center. Mr. Cohen is a nationally-recognized practitioner of consumer protection law. He has a wealth of proven legal experience in the US in: collective claims, representing visually impaired people who believe their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act have been violated in both the physical and digital environments, corporate governance and dispute resolution. Read more

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