Winston Cooks, LLC

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unlawful background checks

Illegal Background Checks

Companies' increased security concerns have resulted in more employers conducting background checks on job applicants as well as current employees. A person may be passed over for a job or denied a promotion based solely on information garnered from an employer's background check. If the information is incorrect—a criminal conviction that should not be on your record, for example, or a credit report that is wrong—you may be able to take legal action.

The lawyers at the Birmingham firm of Winston Cooks represent individuals in these types of cases. When erroneous information is provided in a report on a person's criminal record, credit history, or other background checks, the consequences can be serious and long-lasting---financially as well as psychologically. We can take action against credit bureaus and employers who violate your rights to recover compensation for the damage you have suffered.

Federal Laws Protect Your Rights

Because Alabama does not have laws restricting employer use of criminal records, individuals must rely on the protections provided by federal laws. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) imposes obligations on employers who request criminal background checks as well as the firms that provide them.

The FCRA stipulates that employers must be notified of the intent to screen applicants' backgrounds and receive the applicant's written consent before requesting a background check. The employer must provide a copy of the report to the applicant and notify them if a decision is made not to consider him or her based on the report.

Firms that provide background checks must make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information. If you dispute information that is in the report, the agency must investigate the discrepancy and report any information that is found to be incorrect to you and any company that it provided the report to.

Our employment law attorneys have more than 35 years of cumulative experience. If you have been fired, passed over for a promotion or not hired as a result of incorrect information provided in a background check—or if a firm obtained background information without your consent—we can help. Call us to schedule a free consultation.