A Maryland man says his “life is turned upside down because he shares a name and birthdate with a felon” who shows up on his background check report, according to a report from NBC Channel 4 in Washington.
NBC Channel 4 reports Christopher Jenkins of Maryland does not have a criminal record but Christopher Jenkins of Florida has “a long list of offenses including possession of marijuana and grand theft auto.”
Maryland’s Jenkins – who has never smoked pot or been to Florida – said the criminal history of Florida’s Jenkins showed up when a potential employer ran a background check on him, NBC Channel 4 reports.
Jenkins told NBC Channel 4 that “knowing if he applies for a job he might not get it because of someone else’s criminal record” showing up on his background check has “caused him depression and stress.”
Now Jenkins carries a letter from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirming he does not have a criminal record, a notarized affidavit addressing mistaken identity, and a set of his fingerprints.
People who undergo a background check for a job have rights under the Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA), a federal law that protects consumers from inaccurate data being included in background check reports.
FCRA Section §1681b(b)(3)(A) requires employers taking any adverse action against applicants based on a background check to first give them a copy of their report and a summary of their rights under the FCRA.
The reason why employers must provide the background check report to job applicants before taking adverse action is so applicants have time to review the report and dispute any inaccurate information.
Employers that do not give job applicants a chance to dispute background check information as required by the FCRA risk serious legal consequences from class action lawsuits.