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FCRA Stock IllustrationFCRA Stock Illustration (Shutterstock)

Running a background check on applicants and employees seems like good sense. After all, no employer wants to find out, only after a work-related car accident, that it hired a driver with a series of DUIs. However, the state and federal laws governing background screening create a regulatory minefield. The key source of these requirements is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., which imposes technical and complex obligations on employers, ranging from particular authorizations that must be obtained from the employee, to disclosures that must be made to the employee, to limitations on what information may be included in an authorization and disclosure form, to name just a few. Failure to comply with the FCRA can lead to statutory and punitive damages, plus liability for the opposing party’s attorneys’ fees.

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