Unfair Employment Background Checks: Know Your Rights
If you’re on the hunt for a job, don’t be surprised if you run across Background IQ, formerly known as Bullet Screening Services. Discover who they are and what they do.
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What is Background IQ ?
Background IQ, LLC (formerly known as Bullet Screening Services) was founded in 1997, and is based in Alabama. The company offers employment background screening services in the United States and internationally. It boasts that it is “committed to providing the most comprehensive services in the most cost-effective and efficient way to assist [its] clients in making their hiring decisions.” Background IQ touts its “growth in technology and services” to adapt to the changing industry and legal compliance standards.
Background IQ conducts both general and specialty background checks on behalf of employers. They can conduct extensive criminal background checks, relying on county, state, federal, and even international records. Background IQ also produces education and employment verification reports, immigration status reports, and drug testing results. The company also offers a Patriot Act name search that consults more than a dozen multinational government lists, including those from INTERPOL, the FBI, and OFAC.
Searching for a job and running the gauntlet through the interview process is all-consuming. It’s no surprise that an employment background check isn’t on your top ten list of concerns. In today’s employment landscape, however, it’s routine for an employer to contract with a company like Background IQ to run reports on prospective employees. The results can result in the reward of landing the job – or the disaster of a rejection.
The truth is, background check companies are run by people, and people can make errors. The errors can range from cases of mistaken identity to including outdated information to turning a blind eye to disputed reports.
Enter the Fair Credit Reporting Act comes in. The FCRA is a federal law enacted to protect you by forcing a potential employer to let you know if there’s a problem with your employment background check. The FCRA mandates that the employer notifies you before making a final decision, and gives you the right to sue the background check company in federal court if they included illegal or erroneous information in your report and then didn’t remedy the situation.
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What are my Background Check Disclosure and Consent Rights?
Your rights to disclosure and consent are key provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In order to run an employment background check, a potential employer must first provide you with a standalone notification. Then, you must provide your consent by signing the document authorizing the background check.
If your background check report – whether produced by Background IQ or another agency – contains information that hurts your chances of being hired, the employer must tell you that. In fact, they need to send what’s called a “pre-adverse action” notification, along with a copy of your rights under the FCRA and your actual employment background report.
Your Right to an Accurate and Legally Compliant Report from Background IQ
Once you’ve consented to an employment background check, the potential employer likely outsources the work to an outside company – either Background IQ or another background check company. Depending on the kind of information the employer seeks, the background check company can provide a criminal background history, a social media analysis, a credit report that includes the debts you own, and civil lawsuits you may have been involved in. They may deliver a verification of your education or your employment history, and can even go as far as interviewing people you know in order to produce a report on your character.
Every background check company, including Background IQ, is required to follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The FCRA limits the type of information that can be included in your background check. For example, if you successfully declared bankruptcy more than ten years ago or had debt collectors hounding you more than seven years ago, that’s off-limits. If you were arrested more than seven years ago, that can’t be included, either. Criminal convictions can remain on your report forever – unless your conviction has been expunged.
Your Right to Dispute an Inaccurate Report from Background IQ
If an employer is considering rejecting your candidacy for a job because of something that surfaced in your background check, they are required by the FCRA to notify you. The idea is that you should have a chance to review your report to ensure it’s error-free. That’s why, in addition to a pre-adverse action notice, the employer must send you a copy of your report and how to contact the company that compiled the information.
Thanks to the FCRA, you can file a dispute with the background check company about an inaccurate report. An error might be that they confused you with someone else of the same name, that they included information that isn’t allowed, or that they made another significant error. If you want to dispute a background check report, you should notify both the employer and the company that produced the report. That company has 30 days to look into the matter.
Your Right to Sue Background IQ for Mistakes, Errors, or Illegal Information
It is terrible to lose out on a job due to a mistake with your background check. That’s why the FCRA gives you the right to hold the background check company accountable for preventable errors or illegal information. You may be able to sue in a federal district court and, if you prevail, you can be awarded statutory damages (up to $1,000), actual damages (like your lost income), punitive dames, legal fees, and court costs.
Actual Complaints Against Background IQ
When mistakes in an employment background check cost you a job, the result can be catastrophic. That’s precisely why many folks leverage the power of the Fair Credit Reporting Act to take companies like Background IQ to court.
The lawsuits filed against background check companies have a variety of complaints. Some allege that the companies included illegal or inaccurate information in the report. Others allege that the companies didn’t respond to their dispute within the 30-day window. Still others claim that the company did a half-hearted job, and wasn’t as careful as they should have been. Sometimes, when a single company violates many people’s rights under the FCRA, those people come together to bring a class action case against the company.
Ready to Assert Your FCRA Rights?
Fired or Not Hired Because of a Background IQ background check? If so, you’re in the right place.
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If you’re ready to assert your rights and fight incorrect information in your background check, we can help you get justice. Complete our form for a FREE case evaluation, or call 844-685-9200 NOW
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About the Author:
Sergei Lemberg is a lawyer whose practice focuses on consumer law, class actions and personal injury litigation. He has been repeatedly recognized as the “most active consumer attorney” in the country. In 2020, Mr. Lemberg represented Noah Duguid in the United States Supreme Court in the case entitled Duguid v. Facebook. He is the author of Defanging Debt Collectors, a book that teaches consumers how to battle debt collectors and win.