A federal judge recently ruled that an employer must pay $5.9 million to its workers and job applicants for improper use of criminal background checks
. The workers and applicants brought the Fair Credit Reporting Act lawsuits against First Student and First Transit for not receiving permission before accessing the records and, in some cases, using the criminal records to deny jobs without giving the applicants a copy of the record first, School Transportation News reports. Each worker who was fired due to an unauthorized report will receive between $2,000 and $4,000; those who were terminated without first receiving a copy will get $750 and those who were screened but weren't fired will get between $150 and $300. Employers and landlords are subject to privacy and financial laws when conducting pre-employment background checks or tenant screenings. According to HR.com, to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, an employer must certify to the Consumer Reporting Agency that it will follow FCRA. Employers have to obtain a written release and separate disclosure from an applicant before obtaining a consumer report. If the employer decides not to hire an applicant, he or she must give the person a copy of the report and then send notice of the final decision.