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Employee background checks sacramento lawyer attorney best law firmThe Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA) (Civ. Code, § 1786 et seq.) and the Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (CCRAA) (§ 1785.1 et seq.) regulate agencies that gather information on consumers to provide to employers, landlords, and others for use by those persons in making employment, rental, and other decisions.  The ICRAA governs agencies (and those to whom it provides information) with regard to investigative consumer reports, i.e., reports containing information on a consumer’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living.  The CCRAA governs agencies (and those to whom it provides information) with regard to consumer credit reports, i.e., reports of information bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, or credit capacity.  Both acts impose obligations on the agencies regarding disclosure to consumers when the agencies furnish reports, and limit when and to whom those reports may be furnished.  The obligations and limitations, however, are different for each act, as are the remedies for violations of the act; generally, the ICRAA imposes greater obligations and stricter limitations, and allows greater remedies.

This appeal involves investigative consumer reports – background checks – made on employees of defendants First Student, Inc. and First Transit, Inc. (collectively, First) by defendants HireRight Solutions, Inc. and HireRight, Inc.  Plaintiff Eileen Connor’s lawsuit against First alleging violations of the ICRAA was dismissed after the trial court granted First’s motion for summary judgment based upon the holding of Ortiz v. Lyon Management Group, Inc. (2007) 157 Cal.App.4th 604 (Ortiz).  In Ortiz, the appellate court held that the ICRAA was unconstitutionally vague as applied to tenant screening reports containing unlawful detainer information because unlawful detainer information relates to both creditworthiness and character.  In the Ortiz court’s view, the ICRAA and the CCRAA present a statutory scheme that requires information in consumer reports to be categorized as either character information (governed by the ICRAA) or creditworthiness information (governed by the CCRAA); when the information can be categorized as both, the statutory scheme cannot be constitutionally enforced because it does not give adequate notice of which act governs that information.

We disagree with the analysis in Ortiz, supra, 157 Cal.App.4th 604.  There is nothing in either the ICRAA or the CCRAA that precludes application of both acts to information that relates to both character and creditworthiness.  Therefore, we conclude the ICRAA is not unconstitutionally vague as applied to such information.  Accordingly, we reverse the summary judgment.

The case is Connor v. First Student, Inc. (CA2/4 B256075 8/12/15). Click here to view the full text of the court’s decision.

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