Federal Laws

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

This federal law requires that an employer notify you in writing that your criminal record will be used when making an employment decision, and they must get your written permission to obtain your record usually through a credit reporting agency (CRA).

At the end of the process, the employer must securely dispose of your criminal record background check information.

Before an employer makes a final decision not to hire you based on information contained in the criminal record, they must:

  1. Give you a copy of the criminal record background check they used to make the employment decision.
  2. Give you a copy of "A Summary of your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act."

    A Summary of your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

  3. Tell you in person, writing, or electronically that you may be denied employment based on the information found in the criminal background report.
  4. Give you the contact information for the commercial reporting agency (CRA) who performed the background check and assure you that the CRA took no part in the employment decision making.
  5. Tell you that you can dispute the information contained in the background check within 60 days.

This law is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission.

Equal Employment Opportunity Law, Title VII, Civil Rights Act

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that all applicants for employment and employees are not discriminated against on the basis of their race, color, religion, sex, gender, or national origin. These requirements apply to the use of criminal record background checks as well. Employers cannot have total bans on hiring people with criminal histories. Instead, an employer is supposed to consider the type of conviction, how long ago it was, and the type of job. If an employer says they do not ever hire anyone with a criminal record, or anyone with a felony, they may be violating the law.

This law is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).