California Supreme Court to hear case on background checks

| Dec 7, 2015 | Employee Rights |

A pending decision by the California Supreme Court could affect the way that employers collect information about job candidates. In Conner v. First Student Inc., an employer argued that the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act is unconstitutionally vague. A District Court of Appeal ruled against the employer, but the California Supreme Court voted in November to look into the case and make a final ruling.

The employer in Connor v. First Student Inc. argued that the ICRAA does not provide clear enough information. The employer was unsure whether it was obligated to comply with the ICRAA or the California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act. Until the California Supreme Court makes a ruling on the issue or the Legislature offers clarification, there will be uncertainty about employers’ requirements for state law compliance.

The ICRAA is an act that covers third party background checks concerning a person’s reputation, character and personal characteristics. The CCRAA also concerns background checks, but it applies specifically to credit reports. Though the acts cover different types of background checks, they both impose limits on the same type of background information. Categories of information that are limited by the acts include civil judgments, bankruptcies and criminal histories.

Employers must comply with federal and state laws when performing background checks on job candidates. An employer that uses certain information to eliminate a job candidate from consideration could be found guilty of employment discrimination. People who believe that they were unfairly discriminated against while applying for a job may want to discuss their situation with an employment law attorney to determine the nature of the remedies that might be available.

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