If I am a victim of inaccurate background information, what are my rights?

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If I am a victim of inaccurate background information, what are my rights?

I had 3 interviews with employer. A drug screen was clean. I was offered employment pending criminal backgroung investigation. Information in background check was inaccurate and 11 years old. The employer withdrew the job offer based on the background information provided by the CRA. I want to sue the CRA for dissemating false information, defamation, and loss of income. How do I accomplish this?

Asked on January 2, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You could sue for negligence, but NOT defamation.  The reason you would not have a case for defamation is that defamation requires communication of a false statement made with knowledge of its falsity.  You would have to prove that CRA knew the statement was false.  Disseminating false information would also be under defamation and would present the same issue.

Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that in this case a reasonable background investigation company would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

In order to prove negligence, you will have to prove duty (of due care mentioned above), breach of duty (failure to exercise due care by reporting inaccurate information), actual cause, proximate cause and damages.

Actual cause means but for the information reported by CRA would you have been denied employment by the prospective employer?  If the answer is no, actual cause has been established.

Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable, intervening events which would relieve CRA from liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.

Damages means the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit.  Your damages would be lost income.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by trying to find another comparable job or your damages will be reduced accordingly.  If you find another job that pays less than what you were offered at the job where you weren't hired due to CRA, your damages would be the difference in pay between the two jobs. 

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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