The Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act is the governing state law in California.
Section 1786.12 includes the federal FCRA’s requirements related to disclosure and authorization by the consumer. This law considers all employment-related background investigations “investigative consumer reports,” even those that would seem just be plain old consumer reports under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The disclosure document used by the employer must make reference to investigative consumer reports.
Section 1786.16 (5)(b)(1) requires a checkbox to allow the consumer to request a copy of his/her consumer report. If checked, the employer must provide a copy to the consumer within three days of receiving the report.
Section 1786.18 (a) includes the reportability limitations included in the federal FCRA and the following provisions that exceed the FCRA’s limits:
(4) Unlawful detainer actions where the defendant was the prevailing party or where the action is resolved by settlement agreement.
(7) Records of arrest, indictment, information, misdemeanor complaint, or conviction of a crime that, from the date of disposition, release, or parole, antedate the report by more than seven years. These items of information shall no longer be reported if at any time it is learned that, in the case of a conviction, a full pardon has been granted or, in the case of an arrest, indictment, information, or misdemeanor complaint, a conviction did not result; except that records of arrest, indictment, information, or misdemeanor complaints may be reported pending pronouncement of judgment on the particular subject matter of those records.
Section 1786.18 (b) (2) includes the following exception to the limitations above:
If the investigative consumer report is to be used by an employer who is explicitly required by a governmental regulatory agency to check for records that are prohibited by subdivision (a)
when the employer is reviewing a consumer’s qualification for employment.
To my knowledge, unlike the federal FCRA, there isn’t a maximum salary to which the ICRA’s limitations apply. In other words, it doesn’t matter how much money the consumer earns, criminal records (even convictions) over seven years old cannot be reported.
Section 1786.29 of the ICRA requires the following information on the front of a consumer report:
An investigative consumer reporting agency shall provide the following notices on the first page of an investigative consumer report:
(a) A notice in at least 12-point boldface type setting forth that the report does not guarantee the accuracy or truthfulness of the information as to the subject of the investigation, but only that it is accurately copied from public records, and information generated as a result of identity theft, including evidence of criminal activity, may be inaccurately associated with the consumer who is the subject of the report.
(b) An investigative consumer reporting agency shall provide a consumer seeking to obtain a copy of a report or making a request to review a file, a written notice in simple, plain English and Spanish setting forth the terms and conditions of his or her right to receive all disclosures, as provided in Section 1786.26.