On January 20, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling in a case that has broad effect, potentially impacting your organization.

In the case of Syed v. M-I, LLC, Case No. 14-17186 (2017), the Court ruled that a prospective employer violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act when it procures a job applicant’s consumer report after including a liability waiver in the same document as the statutorily mandated disclosure.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is the very first Court in the nation to rule on this particular issue.  The Court also found that given the statute’s requirement that the disclosure document consist solely of the disclosure, a prospective employer’s violation is “willful” when the employer includes terms in addition to the disclosure, such as the liability waiver, before procuring a consumer report or causing one to be procured.

If your organization utilizes consumer reports when making business decisions, including hiring of employees, you should review your written disclosure statements issued to prospective employees to ensure that they comply with the Ninth Circuit’s ruling.