For more than four decades, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) has regulated consumer reporting agencies (“CRAs”) that furnish consumer reports (i.e., background checks) to third parties such as employers. Over the years, several states have adopted so-called “mini”-FCRAs, including Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, and Washington. Last week, Georgia followed suit.
The new Georgia law, which took effect on July 1, applies to CRAs that “conduct business” in Georgia, i.e., CRAs that provide information to individuals or entities domiciled within the state or whose principal place of business is within the state. The new law affords consumers (such as prospective and current employees) with protections that are very similar to those provided under the federal FCRA.
According to the new Georgia law, a CRA that provides consumer reports for employment purposes in a manner consistent with the federal FCRA (as in existence on March 11, 2015), also complies with the new law. Despite the close parallels between the federal and Georgia FCRAs, the new Georgia law is yet another example of the heightened regulation of CRAs and the entities (such as employers) that utilize them.
Katharine Parker and Daniel Saperstein are Co-Chairs of Proskauer’s Hiring & Background Checks Group.