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Background Checks: Some Information Can’t Be There

Background checks provide individuals with information about others. They give a look into your past and, by doing so, help to provide information that may be relevant to your future. Many employers use past information about you that they obtain from a background check to determine what type of person you will be, ultimately, when they hire you. Some information should not be provided on that report. Legally speaking, these things need to be removed in a timely manner.

The FCRA

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal piece of law that provides protection to individuals in regards to their privacy. There is some information that can not be provided to background checkers legally due to this law. It only applies to those background checks that are done by an outside company. If the agency providing your background check is providing it through a consumer reporting agency, then this information can not be disclosed. On the other hand, with the ease of the internet, many employers are doing their own background checks, which can provide any information that is shown on those reports.

Some items that should not be provided on these consumer reports include:

• A civil suit, any record of your arrest, or civil judgment against you that is over seven years old. This is filed from the time of entry into the system.
• Collection accounts that have been placed over seven years ago, paid or not paid
• Bankruptcy if it has been over ten years since the time that it was discharged
• Tax liens that have been paid off and it’s been seven years.

Other negative information is also not permitted, unless it is criminal in nature. One thing to note though, about criminal charges is it used to be that after a certain time this information too would fall off your report. But, it has become legal to report these situations for your lifetime and longer. Some states, though, have adopted laws still providing for limitations to how long certain types of crimes can stay on your background check. You can learn what your state’s laws are by contacting your state’s employment agency.

Understanding what shouldn’t be on your background check is important to making sure it is removed from it. For example, just become a bankruptcy has been cleared for ten years doesn’t mean that it will actually come off without you filing a claim to remove it. Make sure you know what’s on your background check and what shouldn’t be there.

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