Background Screening Disclosure and Authorization Forms under Attack

Within the last year, six major companies have been sued in nationwide class actions alleging their background screening disclosure and authorization forms were invalid under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The list includes Domino’s Pizza, Whole Foods, UBS, Publix, Extended Stay America, and O’Reilly Auto Parts.

The FCRA requires disclosure and authorization forms to be “stand alone” documents, consisting solely of FCRA-required elements. The lawsuits allege that the forms used by these companies violated the FCRA’s stand-alone requirement because they contain “extraneous items.”

The primary item that plaintiffs’ attorneys have targeted are releases of liability; e.g., “I, the applicant, hereby hold harmless and release the employer and consumer reporting agency from any and all liability related to conducting a background check on me.” However, plaintiffs’ attorneys are targeting other “extraneous” or “unnecessary” items as well.

In light of these recent cases, employers using background-screening services should review their FCRA disclosure and authorization forms for compliance with the FCRA and any applicable state laws. Click here to access MSEC’s sample FCRA disclosure and authorization form and other FCRA sample documents.