The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that ensures the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information contained in the files of consumer reporting agencies. Under the FCRA, criminal convictions can be reported indefinitely, while arrests can only be reported for up to seven years. Employers must obtain written consent from an individual before obtaining a background check report from a third-party agency. If an employer decides to take an adverse action (such as not hiring an applicant or firing an employee) based on information in the report, they must provide a pre-adverse action disclosure that includes a copy of the report and a summary of the consumer's rights under the FCRA. After the adverse action is taken, the employer must give the individual an adverse action notice, which includes information about the consumer reporting agency that supplied the report, the right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of the report, and the right to obtain an additional free report from the agency within 60 days.
The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 aims to improve highway safety by ensuring that drivers of commercial vehicles are qualified to operate those vehicles and by removing unsafe and unqualified drivers from the highways. The Act established a national CDL program, which requires drivers of commercial vehicles to have a single CDL. States are required to adopt testing and licensing standards for commercial drivers. Under this Act, drivers can be disqualified from operating commercial vehicles for certain offenses, including driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. A DUI/DWI conviction can result in the suspension or revocation of a CDL, which can significantly impact employment opportunities for drivers in industries that require a CDL.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in several areas, including job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. An individual with a past drug addiction that is no longer using drugs illegally and has been rehabilitated may be considered a person with a disability under the ADA. However, the ADA does not prevent employers from taking action against an employee or applicant who is currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs. Employers are also allowed to ensure that the workplace is free from the illegal use of drugs and alcohol and to hold employees who are alcoholics or drug addicts to the same performance standards as other employees. A DUI/DWI conviction may not be protected under the ADA if it is current and reflects the illegal use of alcohol or drugs.
The Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) was enacted to protect the privacy of personal information assembled by state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMVs). The DPPA prohibits the release and use of certain personal information from state motor vehicle records without the express consent of the person to whom such information pertains. However, the Act provides exceptions under which personal information can be disclosed, including for use by any government agency, including law enforcement agencies, in carrying out its functions, for use in connection with matters of motor vehicle or driver safety and theft, and for use in connection with court, administrative, or arbitral proceedings. Employers may obtain information from DMV records for use in background checks, but typically must have consent from the individual or fall within one of the exceptions provided by the DPPA.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) makes it illegal for employers to knowingly hire or continue to employ individuals who are not authorized to work in the United States. Employers are required to verify the identity and employment authorization of each person they hire by completing an Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9) and reviewing documents that show the employee's identity and employment authorization. While the IRCA is primarily focused on immigration status and work authorization, a DUI/DWI conviction could potentially affect an individual's immigration status, particularly if the individual is not a U.S. citizen. Certain criminal convictions can lead to deportation or ineligibility for certain immigration benefits, which in turn could affect employment eligibility under the IRCA.