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Legislation and Compliance Update: FTC Releases Employer Guidance

By Michael Klazema on 3/13/2012

The Federal Trade Commission has released guidance for employers who use consumer reports for employment purposes. The guidance reminds that a report on a person’s character such as a report that includes criminal history is a consumer report if anyone will use it for employment purposes, which includes employment, promotion, reassignment, or retention as an employee.  

The FTC and the courts have previously said that the phrase “as an employee” only applies to the word “retention,” so the terms employment, promotion, and reassignment can relate to any activity that produces income, even if it is not normally considered employment. The new guidance reminds employer in plain English of their obligations when using consumer reports for these purposes. Employers may find it to be a good checklist when evaluating the compliance of their programs.

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