Criminal Charges & Background Investigations Mistakes

In Alabama, your employers may choose to conduct a background investigation on you before receiving an offer of employment. If you have a criminal record, a current or potential employer may be able to see them. The laws that govern the use of your criminal record are outlined on both a state and federal level. 

Federal laws exist to ensure accuracy. Is it possible that a new employer may see someone else’s criminal history because that person shares the same name as you? It can happen. That is why the government discusses the use of criminal background checks in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Your employer must ask for your consent before they conduct a background check on you. Should your employer decide not to move forward with you based on the results of your background check, then you need to be notified. 

It is important to note that Alabama has no such laws restricting or limiting how an employer can incorporate your criminal record into their screening process. 

Mistakes On Your Record 

As mentioned before, you may be notified about something that appears on your record that should not be there. There could exist in the form of mistaken identity, erroneous information, or even things that have been expunged.

If this happens to you, the first step is to tell your employer about the mistake and that you intend to dispute it. Unfortunately, the employer does not have to hold the position while pursuing a correction, but that doesn’t mean they won’t or can’t. 

The next step is to correct the mistake. Even if the employer decided to hire you anyway, this error could follow you through any number of situations that may require a background check. You may initiate the process by learning which background check company or screener the employer used. 

When you report the error, the company, by law, has to investigate and correct (if necessary) within 30 days of receiving your complaint. If they refuse, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This company must comply with the FCRA and can be fined by the FTC for failing to do so. The FCRA also gives you the ability to file a lawsuit. 

John Totten P.C.

Criminal charges can have a significant impact on your life. If you have been charged with a crime, contact John Totten, P.C., to schedule a consultation. Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage because you chose not to fight a criminal charge. Your future is too valuable to place in the hands of anyone else.

John M. Totten