Believe it or not, some employers run credit checks on job applicants, and they might base their decision on what they find. Many qualified candidates have lost out on positions because of blemishes on their credit reports.
Because this practice is often viewed as discriminatory, 11 states have outlawed or placed strict restrictions on employer credit checks. And back in 2015, the Georgia House of Representatives tried to pass a bill that would have made Georgia the 12th state on the list. But, sadly, the bill failed to pass.
The good news, however, is that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) protects the rights of consumers whose credit is pulled by a potential employer. Georgia also maintains a “mini”-FCRA that regulates companies that do business in the state. Employers here have to make sure that they’re compliant with both the federal FCRA and the Georgia-specific FCRA.
When Potential Employers Commit Fair Credit Reporting Act Violations
It’s bad enough to lose a job opportunity over a credit issue, but it’s even worse when an employer bases her decision not to hire you on a mistake. After all, about 80 percent of credit reports contain errors of some type. So, it’s highly likely that many employers won’t get an accurate profile of a candidate when they pull a credit report.
According to both the FCRA and Georgia’s “mini”-FCRA, an employer has to get written permission from an applicant before running a credit check on them. They also have to give you a chance to explain negative marks on your credit report if your credit history prevents you from getting a job. If they fail to do these things, they are in violation of both state and federal laws.
How Georgians can Keep Tabs on their Credit and Protect their Rights
Both the federal FCRA and the Georgia FCRA are there to safeguard your rights as a consumer. But it’s also helpful to keep an eye on your credit reports, checking them regularly for errors. Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), you are entitled to request a copy of your report from each of the primary reporting bureaus every 12 months. If you haven’t looked at any of your credit reports in a while, just go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com to request copies from TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. And if you do find a mistake on any of your credit reports, you can dispute the error yourself (in writing), or you can seek legal counsel. It is easier and faster to get your credit cleared of false information if you have a free credit repair lawyer, and Credit Lawyers of America will be happy to write that dispute letter for you, for free.
We can also help if a prospective employer has violated your FCRA rights with a mishandled credit check. Or, if you’ve missed out on a job opportunity due to a credit report error, you should know that the law is on your side, and so are we.
You can set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (888)293-2882 or emailing him at [email protected]