Can I file suit against a potential employer

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I file suit against a potential employer

I applied for a job at a regional credit union. After the first round of interviews, I received a letter from Experian stating that information regarding a lien had been viewed by the employer. It is my understanding that under the Fair Credit Reporting Act that for the potential employer to view my credit that they need my written approval to do so. They did not get any approval from me for that. I know that a lien is also public record so perhaps that is how they were able to access it. However, it was from the credit reporting agency Experian so it would seem that it was my credit report that was accessed. Do I have a case? And, if so, what do I do from here?

Asked on July 10, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Utah


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

An employer or a potential employer cannot run a credit check without your permission, though they can view public legal documents, such as lien--liens, in fact, are designed for public viewing, since their purpose is to warn others that a lien exists, complicating ownership or other rights. Other than viewing a lien or other litigation-related records (like whether lawsuits have been filed against you), which are also public, however, your consent is needed for a credit check, and a failure to get your consent before doing this is a violation of the FCRA.
However, in a lawsuit, you can really only get compensation related to the harm, injury, or damage you suffered. It is unclear what harm, injury or damage you incurred due to this; if you cannot show harm, you cannot recover any appreciable amount of compensation, so you  could spend more on the lawsuit than you get back.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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