News & Insights

General BusinessNovember 16, 2018by Stanton LawEmployers Have a New Fair Credit Reporting Act Obligation

by Mat Toomey.

Since the data breaches in 2017, security and protection have received more attention from a nervous public. With more than 140 million Americans’ information potentially exposed, Congress reacted by passing the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act in May 2018. The new law requires nationwide consumer reporting agencies to provide a security freeze to consumers free of charge. A security freeze prevents lenders, employers, and identity thieves from accessing a consumer’s information without their authorization.

The law’s fine print, however, contains what could be a landmine for employers, including Atlanta businesses. The new law requires that when a consumer receives a Summary of Consumer Rights under the Fair Credit Report Act, they must also receive notice of the free security freezes. In some contexts, employees (as well as job applicants) would be classified as consumers. Therefore, they should receive both the Summary of Consumer Rights, as well as the new notification about free security freezes.

Here’s an example. Atlanta employers may use information from a consumer report—a simple background screen, for instance—to refuse employment to an applicant or to terminate an employee. In these cases, the employer must provide a Summary of Consumer Rights to the applicant or employee—and it must include a notice of the available free security freeze.

To comply with this new law, Atlanta employers must replace their old Summary of Consumer Rights with a new version that includes the required notice about the free security freezes. Atlanta businesses can use the new model Summary of Consumer Rights provided online by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB), the agency tasked with enforcing the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Need Help Understanding the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

If you have questions about how to incorporate these new requirements into your hiring packets and practices, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help you understand your risk and responsibilities as you follow the new regulations and protect your business. If you need an employment law expert, the experienced Atlanta business attorneys at Stanton Law are available by phone at 404-531-2341 or visit us online.