Changes that became effective January 1, 2002, requires that every California resident employee or applicant for employment be provided with a copy of the investigative consumer report* if one is procured by the employer. Heretofore, employers were only required to provide a copy of the report when adverse action is taken based in whole or in part on the report.
Among other sections, Assembly Bill # 655 amended Section 1786.16 of the California Civil Code and subdivision (b) of 1786.16 which now states:
"(b) Any person described in subdivision (d) of Section 1786.12 (refers to any employer) who requests an investigative consumer report regarding that consumer shall provide the consumer with a copy of the report and information on who issued the report and how to contact them, either at the time of the meeting or interview between the consumer and the person who requests an investigative consumer report regarding that consumer or within seven days of the date such person receives the report, whichever is earlier. "
With regard to employment, Section 1786.16(a) requires in part:
"1786.16. (a) Any person described in subdivision (d) of Section 1786.12 shall not procure or cause to be prepared an investigative consumer report unless the following applicable conditions are met:
. . . (2) If, at any time, an investigative consumer report is sought for employment purposes other than suspicion of wrongdoing by the subject of the investigation, the person procuring or causing the report to be made shall, not later than three days after the date on which the report was first requested, notify the consumer in writing that an investigative consumer report regarding the consumer's character, general reputation, personal characteristics, and mode of living will be made. This notification shall include the name and address of the investigative consumer reporting agency conducting the investigation, the nature and scope of the investigation requested, and a summary of the provisions of Section 1786.22."
* Note the difference between the federal FCRA and the California Civil Code definition of investigative consumer report. The California ICR is not just interview information: Section 1786.2 ( c) "The term "investigative consumer report" means a consumer report in which information on a consumer's character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living is obtained through any means. . . "
Labor Lawyers in California are advising out of state consumer reporting agencies that for applicants in California, they should advise their clients to provide the applicant with a copy of the pre-employment investigation report as per Section 1786.16 above. This should not be construed as legal advice and investigators and their clients should rely on the advice of their attorneys.