Failed a Checkr Background Check Due to Errors? You Can Correct it For Free
Checkr unable to complete background check? Your account status is suspended?
So you signed up to work for Lyft, Uber, Postmates or GrubHub, only to receive a response saying you failed the background check and cannot progress in the hiring process. Upon closer examination, you see that the information in your report is inaccurate.
Fear not — under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you are legally entitled to have the report rectified and collect any wages lost due to background screening errors.
What is Checkr, Inc?
Founded in 2014, the San Francisco-based technology platform Checkr, valued at $4.6 billion as of August, is a background screening company that incorporates AI to make the process faster for companies. It markets itself as a consumer-minded tech solution to one of the biggest human resources challenges.
Checkr emphasizes diversity and “fair chance employment” as part of its messaging, providing resources for companies on how to hire formerly incarcerated candidates. The screening service touts its values as an equitable background check option “because a criminal record shouldn’t be a life sentence to unemployment.”
Mostly notably, it is used by the following companies:
- Netflix Inc.
- Coinbase Global Inc.
- Instacart Inc.
Checkr is accredited by the Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) as recognized by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).
What does a Checkr background report provide?
Checkr performs more than 30 million background screenings a year. Its website says that its platform enables employers to screen candidates or partners based on items like criminal records checks, drug screenings and education verification.
Checkr’s background report includes:
- Social Security number tracing
- Sex offender registry
- County, state, national and federal criminal checks
- County and federal civil checks
- Global Watchlist Search
- Driving records
- National and international employment and education checks
- Personal and professional references
- Drug checks
- Credit checks
Did false information or errors appear in your Checkr report?
Checkr is a consumer-conscious screening service whose mission is to make background checks fairer. But as with any automated background check platform, errors can occur, causing candidates to lose out on opportunities.
The FCRA grants you protections and sets standards to ensure employers and background screening providers don’t use consumer information inappropriately. You are legally entitled to have any incorrect or certain damaging information older than seven years, like a tax lien or civil litigation, removed from your report.
Common background check errors
- Incorrect data in original documents
- Including expunged criminal records in consumer reports
- Multiple entries for a single criminal offense
- Reports listing negative information for people other than the candidate due to mistaken identity
- Identity theft
- Corrupted files
- Outdated negative information
- Mistakes in copy, filing and search process
If any of these mistakes compromised your candidacy or promotion, the FCRA allows you to file a dispute that must be addressed within 30 days.
What are my disclosure rights and consent to background checks?
Employers must gain the written consent of candidates to run a background screening. The FTC states that candidates also have the right to know what information is included in their report, meaning candidates can request and obtain all information about themselves in the files of consumer reporting.
According to the FTC, candidates are entitled to a free file disclosure if: “a person has taken adverse action against you because of information in your credit report; you are the victim of identity theft and place a fraud alert in your file; your file contains inaccurate information as a result of fraud; you are on public assistance; you are unemployed but expect to apply for employment within 60 days.”
I was denied a job due to my background check information. What should I do?
If an employer uses information in a background check against you, such as disqualifying your candidacy in a hiring process, the employer must provide this information to you in an adverse action notice. That notice must include the contact information for the background check company as well as your rights regarding disputing the report.
If the information about you is incorrect or should not have been included, such as an arrest from more than seven years ago that did not result in conviction, you can dispute that information or have it removed.
Can criminal records appear on my background check after 7 years?
Unfortunately, records like misdemeanor and felony convictions can legally be included in background screenings indefinitely. However, a Ninth Circuit decision in the case of Moran v. The Screen Pros ruled that the expiration for criminal charges on screening begins when charges are filed, not at dismissal. In other words, criminal charges exceeding the seven-year limit shouldn’t appear in employment screens.
Reports also cannot show employers civil suits, judgements, arrest records, paid tax liens, accounts in collection or most negative information older than seven years. Expunged convictions cannot be disclosed either.
Bankruptcies older than 14 years can also be used if the screening is being performed in connection with a credit transaction of $50,000 or more, a life insurance policy of $50,000 or more, or the employment of a candidate whose salary would be greater than or equal to $25,000.
Can I dispute false information on my background check report?
In short: yes! By law, background check companies must correct any errors in a background report within 30 days of a dispute being filed.
First, you must call the company and submit a written dispute letter outlining the mistakes in the report via certified mail. It’s wise to submit information that confirms your claim, such as in the case of mistaken identity.
Once the information in your report is corrected, you’re entitled to ask the screening agency to give the revised report to anyone who has received a report about you within the last two years. You may also request a free copy of your report within 60 days.
Can I sue Checkr if my background report is wrong?
If you experience difficulty getting a screening company to correct your information, you may be entitled to statutory damages up to $1,000, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and other costs . A lawsuit could be the best way to resolve the errors in your background screening report.
In July 2021, Consumer Attorneys represented a consumer against a third party background screening company that was providing derogatory information on the consumer due to an error known as a “mixed file.” This occurs in cases of mistaken identity in which the third party provides information on someone other than the consumer in question.
The defendant had been selling consumer background reports on our client containing credit and personal information on a completely different person. Screening companies frequently fail to follow reasonable procedures to ensure the accuracy of the information they provide, an oversight our experienced attorneys are more than happy to correct through litigation.
What are my rights under the FCRA? How can I get legal help now?
You can find a full summary of your rights under the FCRA here.
- You must be told if information in your file has been used against you.
- You have the right to know what is in your file.
- You have the right to ask for a credit score.
- You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information.
- Consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information.
- Consumer reporting agencies may not report outdated negative information.
- Access to your file is limited.
- You must give your consent for reports to be provided to employers.
- You may limit “prescreened” offers of credit and insurance you get based on information in your credit report.
- You have a right to place a “security freeze” on your credit report, which will prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing information in your credit report without your express authorization.
- You may seek damages from violators.
- Identity theft victims and active duty military personnel have additional rights.
Contact our attorneys for expert advice:
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