Employers Cannot Force Job Applicants to Waive FCRA Rules Applicable to Background Reports
Today, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in a FCRA case, Syed v. M-I, LLC that involves background reports employers obtain on prospective employees. The background reports are “consumer reports” like credit reports subject to the FCRA rules. The FCRA requires employers to give applicants a written disclosure that they plan to obtain a background report. The purpose for the disclosure is to give applicants the opportunity to block the employer from obtaining a report, a matter of privacy. The disclosure must be consist “solely of the disclosure.” The employer M-I tried to insulate it from FCRA liability by coupling the disclosure with a waiver of any liability for use or misuse of the background information. The Court held this was a violation of the FCRA and hence M-I was liable to the class representative and members of the class for statutory damages. The opinion is available on the court’s website.