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In another class-action decision regarding FCRA disclosure forms and favoring the plaintiff (Gilberg v. California Check Cashing Stores LLC), California’s Ninth Circuit court declared that background check disclosure forms including state law disclosures on the same document are illegal.  Citing an earlier decision in (Syed v. M-I, LLC, 853 F.3d 492 (9th Cir. 2017), the court stressed that “the statute [means] what it [says]: the required disclosure must be in a document that consists ‘solely’ of the disclosure.’ The disclosure form used by the defendant included state-mandated disclosure information and the court ruled this violated the “standalone” requirement of the FCRA.

Also, per the FCRA, employers must provide the applicant a “clear and conspicuous disclosure” that “a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes.”  The court held that the disclosure, though “conspicuous,” was not “clear” due to the use of a semicolon instead of a comma in one section. As Baker Hostetler’s Todd Lebowitz writes, this decision will delight grammarians but the court’s decision is “technical and harsh.”

Employers should use language, grammar and punctuation that is clear, concise, and free from errors that could confuse the consumer regarding rights under the FCRA or comparable state laws.

What should you do?

  • Now is the time to review and update your FCRA disclosure and authorization forms including those used in your Applicant Tracking System.
  • Ensure your disclosure form does not contain extraneous language, including state-mandated notices.
  • Ensure the language in your disclosure is clear and free from errors.
  • Consult with your legal counsel regarding the forms.

While Corporate Screening cannot act as your legal counsel, our representatives are here to assist you.

  • Corporate Screening has made sample documents including disclosure and authorizations forms available in the Help Center portion of EASE.
  • Corporate Screening offers its customers an electronic disclosure and authorization solution. This E-Disclosure and Authorization feature assists employers with meeting their requirements under Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Information contained in this post is intended only as a service to inform or be educational in nature.  Nothing herein should ever be construed as legal advice or opinion, nor as the offer of such. Corporate Screening makes no representations about whether the use of this information or documents would ensure legal compliance by the end user with all applicable federal, state, and local requirements. You are strongly advised to consult with your own legal or other counsel regarding the use of background screening information, forms, and processes.


Kevin Neudecker is Corporate Screening’s Quality and Compliance Manager. In this role, he oversees Corporate Screening’s continued compliance with National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) Accreditation standards and holds an FCRA Advanced Certification.