Gorski Law
Pennylvania & New Jersey Consumer Rights Law Firm
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Background Check Disputes

Frequently asked questions about how to dispute errors, mistakes and other issues that appear on background checks and what rights people have to be compensated for and harm or injury  experienced as a result of errors. Information about the possible need to consult with a lawyer  and how Gorski Law can help resolve errors on background checks and obtain compensation for persons experiencing harm.


How do I know if something is wrong with my background check?

You need to review a copy of the background check that was prepared about you to see if there is an error or if there is misleading information about you on the report.

Very often people learn about a problem with a background check before they see the report itself (e.g., a phone call from potential employer or recruiter). This can be very confusing when you do not have the background check in front of you. Additionally, people are sometimes notified that they have been turned down for employment or an apartment without any reason. Both of these situations can raise concerns that an error might exist on a background check.  Before reaching this conclusion, obtain a copy of the background check and review it thoroughly to check for errors or information about you that you consider to be misleading.

If you are having difficulties obtaining a copy of your background check or not sure whether your rights are being violated, Gorski Law may be able to help. Initial consultations are always free. Call or email the firm to schedule a consultation.

How do I obtain a copy of my background check?

Anytime a background check is sold about you, the person or entity requesting the report must inform you about the identity of the background check company that they used.  If you have not been provided with this information, ask for the identity of the background company from the person or entity who purchased the report.

Once you know the name of the company who prepared the report, you need to contact that background check company and request a copy of your report. The procedures for doing this can vary between different background check companies. Check the directory of background check companies on this site for information on how to do this. If the company that is not in the directory, check the company's website for information or call the company directly and ask for a copy of the report.  If the background check company refuses to supply you with a copy of your report, you should obtain legal assistance because the company is required by law to provide you with a copy the report.

If the background check was obtained by your employer or in connection with a job application, the employer is required by law to provided you with a copy of the report if they are relying on the report to deny your application or terminate you.  If you have not received a copy of the report from the employer, you should request a copy. If the employer is refusing to provide you with a copy, you are still permitted to request a copy of the report from the background check company. Nonetheless, if this happens, you should consider consulting a lawyer because the employer is not fulfilling its obligation to you.

If you are having difficulties obtaining a copy of your background check or not sure whether your rights are being violated, Gorski Law may be able to help. Initial consultations are always free. Call or email the firm to schedule a consultation.

What are common errors on background checks?

  • Criminal records that do not belong to you
  • Criminal record reported as a felony instead of a misdemeanor
  • Criminal record reported when the charge was dismissed or expunged
  • Reporting of arrests without additional information
  • Reporting that the wrong crime was committed
  • Reporting the wrong date of conviction
  • Falsely claiming that you were terminated from prior employment when you resigned or quit
  • Falsely claiming you engaged in some form of misconduct with a prior employer
  • Bankruptcies, tax liens or civil judgments reported that do not belong to you
  • Negative credit history that does not belong to you
  • Eviction actions that do not belong to you

An error on a background check is a serious problem and can cause significant harm to you even if the error is ultimately corrected.  If any of these errors have appeared on your background check, Gorski Law may be able to help you resolve the error and obtain compensation for you as a result of the error. Initial consultations are always free. Call or email the firm to schedule a consultation.

What do I need to do to dispute an error?

If you identity an error on your background check, you have the right to wage a dispute with the background check company that prepared the report. Before waging the dispute, make sure you inform the person or entity who requested the report that you are disputing information on the report. If they know you are disputing, they may hold off on denying your application while the dispute is pending.

To wage a dispute, you should follow the procedure of the background check company that prepared the report. Companies may require that you call them, dispute online or dispute in writing. Check the directory of background check companies on this site for information on how to dispute with a specific company. If the company is not in the directory, check the company's website for information or call the company directly for information on how to wage a dispute.

When you dispute, provide the company with the specific item(s) on the report that is erroneous or misleading and the reason why (e.g., "the record does not belong to me"). If you have information or documents that confirm the error, you should provide that to the company when you dispute. You are not required to conduct your own investigation to prove that the information is erroneous . The company is obliged to conduct an investigation to verify whether the information is accurate or not.

An error on a background check is a serious problem and can cause significant harm to you even if the error is ultimately corrected.  If any of these errors have appeared on your background check, Gorski Law may be able to help you resolve the error and obtain compensation for you as a result of the error. Initial consultations are always free. Call or email the firm to schedule a consultation.

Should I speak to a lawyer?

You can dispute errors on your own without a lawyer, but background check errors can be a serious problem that can cause significant harm (e.g., losing a job or apartment). You may be entitled to compensation for the background check company's mistakes which you are not going to receive without the assistance of an lawyer. It is also important to remember that even if a background check is corrected after you dispute, you still may be entitled to compensation for delays and emotional stress the situation caused to you. 

Consumers tend to find the dispute process set up by background check companies confusing and hard to understand. A lawyer will be able to help with managing the dispute process and assess whether legal action against the background check company would be more appropriate. 

If any of these errors have appeared on your background check or you are unsure sure what you should do, Gorski Law may be able to help you resolve the error and obtain compensation for you as a result of the error. Initial consultations are always free. Call or email the firm to schedule a consultation.

My job application was delayed because of an error on my background check. Do I have a right to be compensated?

Yes, delays in obtaining employment along with any lingering harm to your reputation and emotional stress you experience are all compensable harms if the background check company's mistakes violate the law.

If you believe you have been harmed in any respect by errors appearing on your background check, it is important to speak to a lawyer so you can be compensated. Gorski Law may be able to help you resolve the error and obtain compensation for you as a result of the error. Initial consultations are always free. Call or email the firm to schedule a consultation.

My job application was denied because of an error on my background check. Do I have a right to be compensated?

Yes, a denied job application in obtaining employment along with any lingering harm to your reputation and emotional stress you experience are all compensable harms if the background check company's mistakes violate the law. Additionally, the employer who considered your application may also be responsible for rejecting your application if it failed to give you advance notice of the problem and an opportunity to dispute.

If you believe you have been harmed in any respect by errors appearing on your background check, it is important to speak to a lawyer so you can be compensated. Gorski Law may be able to help you resolve the error and obtain compensation for you as a result of the error. Initial consultations are always free. Call or email the firm to schedule a consultation.

I lost my job because of an error on my background check. Do I have a right to be compensated?

Yes, lost employment along with any lingering harm to your reputation and emotional stress you experience are all compensable harms if the background check company's mistakes violate the law. Additionally, your employer may be responsible for terminating your employment if it failed to give you advance notice of the problem and an opportunity to dispute.

If you believe you have been harmed in any respect by errors appearing on your background check, it is important to speak to a lawyer so you can be compensated. Gorski Law may be able to help you resolve the error and obtain compensation for you as a result of the error. Initial consultations are always free. Call or email the firm to schedule a consultation.

I was denied an apartment because of an error on my background check. Do I have a right to be compensated?

Yes, any denial or delay in renting apartments or property of any kind along with any lingering harm to your reputation and emotional stress you experience are compensable harms if the background check company's mistakes violate the law. 

If you believe you have been harmed in any respect by errors appearing on your background check, it is important to speak to a lawyer so you can be compensated. Gorski Law may be able to help you resolve the error and obtain compensation for you as a result of the error. Initial consultations are always free. Call or email the firm to schedule a consultation.