If I have been subjected to a background check without an offer from a company, do I have grounds to file a lawsuit with the company?

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If I have been subjected to a background check without an offer from a company, do I have grounds to file a lawsuit with the company?

I am a Texan trying to work in the summer in California. One company had me do a couple of interviews and they went well. Afterwards, they had me do a background check and drug test and I was told I would be good to start if those cleared, which they did. Now, when I have already committed to living in California, they tell me they still need to do another interview with me before extending an offer. However, I looked up that due to the new ‘Ban the Box’ law that they cannot check my background without at least a conditional job offer. Do I have a case here?

Asked on June 6, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If they had less than five employees or the job which you sought is one which requires a background check under the law (e.g. certain teaching positions), they did not need to make a conditional offer first.
If the above exceptions did not apply, they did need to make a conditional offer before doing a *criminal* background check. However, they could do other checks (e.g. drug, credit) with your consent without having to make a conditional offer; and they could simply "google" you freely. (Anyone may "google" anyone at anytime.)
If they did violate the ban the box law, you don't sue, but instead report the violation to the CA Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing, which could order the employer to pay something to you (and/or order them to change their practices--the response will depend onthe facts).

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If they had less than five employees or the job which you sought is one which requires a background check under the law (e.g. certain teaching positions), they did not need to make a conditional offer first.
If the above exceptions did not apply, they did need to make a conditional offer before doing a *criminal* background check. However, they could do other checks (e.g. drug, credit) with your consent without having to make a conditional offer; and they could simply "google" you freely. (Anyone may "google" anyone at anytime.)
If they did violate the ban the box law, you don't sue, but instead report the violation to the CA Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing, which could order the employer to pay something to you (and/or order them to change their practices--the response will depend onthe facts).


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