Author: David Lavi, Esq.
May 8, 2023

What Rights Do I Have if my Employer Does a Background Check?

California law requires employers, with a few exceptions, to follow certain steps before obtaining a background check on an employee.

  1. Firstly, the employer must disclose in a document, which solely consists of the disclosure, that they plan to conduct a background check.
  2. Secondly, the employee must provide written authorization for the background check.

These steps are mandatory each time the employer wants to run a background check, and failure to comply can result in liability to the employee, including a minimum of $10,000, attorneys’ fees, and punitive damages, as stated in Cal. Civil Code § 1786.16(a)(2) and § 1786.50.

California’s background check law offers essential safeguards for employees in California. The legislation was introduced in response to incidents where employers were conducting background checks on their employees without their knowledge. In some cases, these background checks contained inaccurate information, which adversely affected employees’ ability to secure employment for years. The situations that spurred the California Legislature to take action were appalling, with individuals struggling to find work, becoming homeless, and experiencing other difficulties because of false information contained in background checks that they were not even aware were taking place.

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