Employers use consumer reports to make decisions about hiring, firing, and promoting employees. There are federal laws that govern what goes into a consumer report, but they can include details about almost any aspect of your life.


A consumer report is one gathered by a third party about a person's credit history and other lifestyle choices. Employers use them to make hiring and promotion decisions.

Federal Law

An employer cannot investigate a job applicant's consumer report without giving him or her written notification. The employer must also notify the applicant of what information he will research, and if he is denying the applicant a job based on the report's findings.

Credit History

The most common information on a consumer report is the applicant's credit history. This report gives the employer the history of your financial decisions, your credit rating, and how reliably you pay your bills.

Background Checks

Consumer reports can also include information about your criminal background, educational background and employment background. Employers must hire an outside agency to perform these checks and compile the final report.

Other Information

Employers hiring applicants for jobs that require the handling of sensitive information might require a consumer report that covers your personal information. The employer can interview your friends, family or former co-workers about your character, daily habits and lifestyle.