CA: Large Online Retailer Settles Suit for FCRA Violation

Source: pre-employ.com

An online retailer recently announced it reached an agreement in a California federal court. This agreement ends a lawsuit with a former associate. According to the case, the associate accused the retailer of illegally using information about a past conviction to deny him a full-time job.
The online retailer did not detail the terms of the agreement. However, it did file a notice stating that it had agreed to settle the lawsuit under the California Fair Chance Act (FCA). The FCA first took effect in January 2018, intending to increase job opportunities for people with criminal records.

The plaintiff initiated a proposed class action lawsuit against the retailer and a background check company in 2022. According to the company, the plaintiff was arrested and charged with sexual offenses in 2011. Convicted of these crimes, the plaintiff faced five years of imprisonment. After release in 2016, he registered on California’s Megan’s Law website as a sex offender as required. 

The defendant explained that they intended to hire him as a seasonal associate in the latter part of 2021. Though the position should have ended in March of the following year, the company extended an offer to work full-time. This decision led to a third-party company running a background check and revealing his criminal record. As a result, the defendant withdrew the offer.

The plaintiff claimed that the online retailer and the background check company violated Megan’s Law. He alleged that the company used information from the website to deny him employment. In addition, he claimed the company violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Consumer Reporting Agencies Act. This Act bans consumer reporting agencies from reporting convictions in which seven years have passed since the point of parole.

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Man was arrested for an offense over 10 years ago. Did his time receive the a part-time job they offered him a full-time job company ran a background check on him resending the offer he sued under California fair chance act.

I wonder if this is the Amazon case from a year or so ago.

This happened to me with Doordash (using Megan’s law website for denial) and Walmart. With Walmart, I made it through the interview phase, which I had nailed, and was told by the interviewer the job would be mine……..then background check phase they used the Megan’s law website, for a conviction well over a decade past to deny me the position

In an ideal world, having a blemished background shouldn’t be reason enough alone to deny anyone the same opportunity as anyone else…and legally, I don’t think anyone can be refused employment based on that single factor (but I could be wrong). of course, from a potential employer’s perspective, (based purely on misinformation and prejudice), they may consider an individual’s past criminal behavior as indicating a present liability (regardless of how long ago the offense may have occured), and they want to “protect” the company, the customers, as well as other employees from this imagined liability. Registrants are treated like modern-day lepers in almost every facet of their daily life, with the most glaring examples being employment and housing.

This sounds like the following Amazon case: https://www.reuters.com/legal/litigation/amazon-sued-over-refusal-hire-california-sex-offenders-2022-09-23/

Complaint found at the following: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/legaldocs/gkplgnrzjvb/EMPLOYMENT_AMAZON_SEXOFFENDERS_complaint.pdf

The federal judge’s reasoning for the “plaintiff failed to adequately prove that the defendant improperly used information on California’s Megan’s Law website” seems bogus. If FCRA says seven years from parole, then why should anything past seven years be relevant? Even if based off of “public records?” The fact the “large online retailer” admitted they used a conviction past seven years should have made this a clear winner for the plaintiff. Also, the fact that Megan’s Law prevents people and businesses from using the website for housing, employment, education, banking, etc.

More reason our so-called “government” works against We The People.

Good, sue them into compliance. That is the only way that this will stop. That is how Janice and ACSOL are changing the playing field. It is the only thing these people understand.

Interesting. I was not aware of this law. Before I got my current job several years ago, I worked for a company through an employment agency. The place I was working sent good reports about me to the agency and when my contract terms came to an end, I was given an offer for permanent employment with the company. I passed the drug test with no problems. I passed the background check because my conviction is over 30 years old, but they rescinded the job offer because they found me on the registry.
Had I known that was illegal I would have filed a suit too.

Not to mention If you do get a good job then there’s the every day anxiety and paranoia that everyone at the company is going to find out.
That was very stressful I would go home after a hard days work all burned out,
And don’t forget the dreadful drive home every day which causes even more anxiety and paranoia, worrying about vigilante’s Karen’s and law-enforcement agents may be waiting for you when you get home.

My employer here in California did the same thing, although I had already worked for them for over a year before they fired me following the background check. I was no longer required to register anywhere and my convictions were over a decade old, but the background check agency went back more than 7 years in violation of California law. I sued both my former employer and the background checking agency pro se. Both ultimately settled following mediation. If you face similar circumstances, I encourage you to speak to an attorney or an employee advocacy org. If you can’t afford an attorney, at least do yourself a favor and contact the background check agency / employer (if you were fired) with a notice of intent to sue and see if you can negotiate a settlement. If you’re in California (and most other states), there are various state agencies such as the CRD with which you must file a complaint before you can initiate an employment lawsuit. In regards to a background checking agency, it’s common for companies to offer several thousand or more to payoff what they consider a “nuisance lawsuit” because it’s more expensive for them to defend against a lawsuit.

That’s the thing that separates registrants from those who are not on the registry for other kinds of crimes. State registry sites are free and easy to navigate for employers who are either too lazy, or don’t want to pay to do a background check. Then they think they can skirt the law by claiming the registry is only for ‘administrative’ and ‘civil’ purposes; they’re not looking up a person’s criminal background. The employee just poses a safety risk to the company, just like anyone who has a history of wreckless safety violations

How to fight churches not allowing RC’s to attend services by reason of child and congregation protection. My former church Mariner’s Church of Irvine California refuses to allow me back on property even after my removal from the requirement to register. Can they do that and does it violate their 501c3 non-profit status?