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A friend recently received two job offers. He accepted one and rejected the other. The employer he accepted subsequently withdrew the offer because of what came up during a background check. He has asked the employer for the substance of the background check that was grounds for withdrawing the offer, but has not received any response. Is there any requirement that this information be shared, since it was the basis for terminating a contract?

Furthermore, if one rejects an offer to accept another, does the withdrawal of the other offer constitute a tort, e.g., violation of promissory estoppal?

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  • What state did this happen in? – Moby Disk Aug 30 '15 at 20:51
  • The state of Texas. – neubert Aug 31 '15 at 3:28
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Anyone who uses a credit report or another type of consumer report to deny your application for credit, insurance, or employment – or to take another adverse action against you – must tell you, and must give you the name, address, and phone number of the agency that provided the information.

Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

Read some more of that document. It tells you that you have a right to see your file. It also tells you who to contact.

Promissory estoppel is not something that is violated. It's a legal doctrine which can help enforce a promise made in the absence of a contract. Without more facts it's impossible to predict if promissory estoppel can help your friend. And if there aren't more facts it's unlikely that PE will help as this appears to be a routine job offer contingent on a background check.

Now, the action based on a background check might be interesting especially if your friend is a member of a protected class. You can read more about this in the document I linked to.

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    One question is whether the "background check" in this case falls under the definition of "consumer report" for the purposes of the FCRA. For instance, I am not sure that a criminal records check would be covered by FCRA. – Nate Eldredge Aug 30 '15 at 20:41
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There are potentially two different circumstances here:

Contract

If the employer made an unconditional offer which the employee accepted then there is a contract of employment and the employer must then terminate it in accordance with the relevant employment law. This may or may not include things like notice periods, severance pay and having just reasons (which may require divulging those reasons) - all of these are highly jurisdiction specific.

No contract

Alternatively, if the offer was conditional on the background check then no contract was created and there is no requirement to show you the report but must give you the contact details of the agency who are required to show it to you and amend it if it is wrong.

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