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Employers that are either located in Tennessee or hiring Tennessee residents must abide by the Federal FCRA, and applicable Tennessee state employment laws.
This page was created to provide a simple explanation of what an end-user of a background screening report (also known as consumer report) can use in order to be in compliance with Tennessee state laws. This page also contains steps an end-user must take to stay in compliance with Tennessee state laws.
Please keep in mind that the EEOC must always be taken into consideration when a hiring decision is to be made. The EEOC has provided guidance on how employers can use criminal records during the hiring process. This regulation was issued on April 25, 2012. The EEOC requires employers to individually review each applicant or employee that may be disqualified due to a criminal record. This also follows the regulations set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Additionally, the EEOC wants to undertake an adverse action process similar to that of the FCRA. They want to add a pre-adverse action process of their own. Although employers already have an adverse action process that is specific to information contained in consumer reports, the EEOC's adverse action process may be different.
The information that is provided on this page does not discuss requirements under the EEOC nor does it explain how to use criminal records that fall under the regulation of the EEOC. It is suggested that compliance with the EEOC be discussed with legal counsel.
For more detailed information on Tennessee state laws, please consult your legal counsel.
This state follows the regulations and standards for hiring policies as set forth by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. There are no additional state or local employment screening laws to consider. Please keep in mind that laws are always changing, and we recommend that you seek legal counsel for the most up-to-date legal information.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a set of federal guidelines that helps regulate hiring practices. The FCRA was created to ensure privacy, accuracy, and fairness of consumer information. The FCRA accomplishes this by having a set standard for collecting, disseminating, and using consumer information.
Employers obtaining consumer reports for background screening purposes must follow specific procedures. For example, employers must disclose to the candidate what the background screening is, what information it includes, and how they intend to use it. They must obtain the written consent of the candidate before obtaining a background screening. They may not misuse the information contained in the background screening. There are also strict procedures an employer must follow should they decide not to hire a potential candidate based on the information in the background screening.
The purpose of the FCRA is to help protect employers, employees, and potential job candidates.
This material is time sensitive. Contact us for updates. This information is subject to frequent change through legislative and court action.
All materials in this page and accompanying information are for general educational purposes and not intended to provide legal, scientific or medical advice. Consult with an appropriate professional to address specific issues.
Public employers may not inquire into an applicant’s criminal history during the initial stage of the employment process. Questions regarding criminal history may not be on the employment application form.
You have a right to place a "security freeze" on your credit report, which will prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing information in your credit report without your express authorization. A security freeze must be requested in writing by certified mail or by electronic means as provided by a consumer reporting agency. The security freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent. If you are actively seeking a new credit, loan, utility, or telephone account, you should understand that the procedures involved in lifting a security freeze may slow your applications for credit. You should plan ahead and lift a freeze in advance of actually applying for new credit. When you place a security freeze on your credit report, you will be provided a personal identification number or password to use if you choose to remove the freeze on your credit report or authorize the release of your credit report for a period of time after the freeze is in place. To provide that authorization you must contact the consumer reporting agency and provide all of the following:
A consumer reporting agency must authorize the release of your credit report no later than fifteen (15) minutes after receiving the above information.
A security freeze does not apply to a person or entity, or its affiliates, or collection agencies acting on behalf of the person or entity, with which you have an existing account, that requests information in your credit report for the purposes of fraud control, or, reviewing or collecting the account. Reviewing the account includes activities related to account maintenance.
You should consider filing a complaint regarding your identity theft situation with the Federal Trade Commission and the Tennessee department of commerce and insurance, division of consumer affairs, either in writing or via their websites.
You have a right to bring civil action against anyone, including a consumer reporting agency, who improperly obtains access to a file, misuses file data, or fails to correct inaccurate file data.
Unless you are a victim of identity theft with a police report, or other official document acceptable to a consumer reporting agency to verify the crimes, a consumer reporting agency has the right to charge you up to seven dollars and fifty cents ($7.50) to place a freeze on your credit report, but may not charge you to temporarily lift a freeze on your credit report. A consumer reporting agency may charge a consumer a reasonable fee not to exceed five dollars ($5.00) to permanently remove a security freeze, or to replace a personal identification number or password. A consumer reporting agency may increase these fees annually based on changes to a common measure of consumer prices. A consumer reporting agency may not charge a Tennessee consumer to place or permanently remove a security freeze if that Tennessee consumer is a victim of identity theft as defined in Tennessee law or federal law regarding identity theft and presents to the consumer reporting agency, at the time the request is made, a police report or other official document acceptable to the consumer reporting agency detailing the theft.
Knights v. Publix Supermarkets, Inc
Plaintiff claims that Publix violated the FCRA by not making legally required disclosures about background checks to job applicants.
Settlement for $6.8M. Publix included language in its job applications that would cause applicants to waive certain legal rights regarding background checks.
Employers must ensure that their applicants are aware that a background screening will be run on them. This is why there is a disclosure and authorization process outlined by the FCRA.
Jude v. Freeman Webb, Inc.
Plaintiff claims he was wrongfully terminated by his employer due to inaccurate information in a background screening report. The report incorrectly named the plaintiff as a sex offender. Plaintiff claims his employer did not obtain his consent or properly disclose that a background screening would be procured.
Certified Class Action. Jude is the lead plaintiff in this class action lawsuit.
Employers performing background screenings on current employees must still follow the requirements for disclosure and authorization as set forth by the FCRA.
Jude v. Corelogic Saferent
Plaintiff claims that Corelogic prepared a misleading background screening report because it reported the same offense multiple times, and inaccurately labeled him as a sex offender. Plaintiff claims Corelogic does not adhere to the standard set forth in section 613 of the FCRA.
Dismissed. Jude was the lead plaintiff in this class action lawsuit.
Employers must review the entire background screening report on an applicant before making a hiring decision, and must follow proper adverse action procedures if making a negative hiring decision. CRA’s must ensure they have strict procedures in place to ensure maximum possible accuracy or send 613 notification letters to consumers.