Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Question: Does the ICRAA protect myself if I live in a state other than California?

Answer: Generally, the ICRAA applies to any applicant applying for employment in California. If an applicant lives in a different state but will be working in California that applicant is protected because the ICRAA protects employees working in California.

While similar to the Federal Fair Credit and Reporting Act (FCRA) the Investigative Consumer Reporting Agency Act (ICRAA) only applies to the background reports used for California employment.


Question: Can an employer obtain a background report on myself?

Answer: The ICRAA and FCRA similarly allow an employer to obtain a background report on employment applicants only after satisfying the requirement of obtaining a signed consent disclosure by the subject of the report.


Question: What are the requirements for a consent disclosure contents?

Answer: California Civil Code section 1786.16 requires that the consent disclosure contain the name, address and telephone number of the consumer reporting agency (CRA) that will be preparing the report.  This section also requires the consent disclosure to contain a check box allowing the subject of the report to request a copy of the report if procured.

A compliant consent disclosure will contain the name, address, telephone number of the CRA that will be used in preparing the report and also the required check box option.


Question: What is the penalty for violations of the ICRAA?

Answer: The violation for ANY section of the ICRAA is $10,000 or actual damages whichever is greater per violation.


Question: Do I have to prove damages if I sue for violations of the ICRAA?

Answer: No, simply put the ICRAA is unique and does not require damages to occur.   If there has been a violation of the ICRAA the violator (can be either employer or consumer reporting agency) is liable to the consumer for the statutory $10,000 or actual damages whichever is greater.

The language and subsequent liability for violations of the ICRAA is found in California Civil Code section 1786.50.


Question: Can an employer charge me for a background report when being used in connection with employment?

Answer: No - The answer to this question is not found in the ICRAA but rather in the Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (CCRAA) section 1785.20.5.    The CCRAA parallels the ICRAA in many respects but primarily pertains to credit reports.   Both credit reports and investigative consumer reports (which are defined by and  protected by the ICRAA) are background reports.  This section states that "The report to the user and to the subject of the report shall be provided contemporaneously and at no charge to the subject person."