From the Hotline: Authorizations for Investigative Consumer Reports

Question: Is an employer required under the FRCA and ICRA to declare authorization for an Investigative Consumer Report?

Answer: The request is whether the employer specifically has to tell the applicant that the reason for the authorization is for an investigative consumer report. Under both the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRA), before procuring a consumer report, an employer must obtain the employee’s signed authorization in writing and provide the employee with a clear and conspicuous written disclosure informing the employee that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes. The disclosure must be in a document that consists solely of the disclosures required under FCRA and ICRA and may also include the employee’s written authorization. There is no specific title requirement in the regulations.

However, what the laws specifically state in terms of disclosures for investigative consumer reports are the following-in writing to the consumer:

  1. The fact that an investigative consumer report has been ordered; and
  2. The fact that the consumer has a right to request information about the nature and scope of the investigation.

The complete text of the Fair Credit Reporting Act can be found at: http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/031224fcra.pdf. The complete text of the California ICRA can be found at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=civ&group=01001-02000&file=1786.10-1786.40