Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
A class action lawsuit claims Paramount Pictures Corporation improperly performed consumer reports for employment purposes in alleged violation of federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), according to TopClassActions.com. The FCRA regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer information including credit reports. The full story is available at http://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/47331-lawsuit-paramount-illegally-obtains-applicants-credit-reports/.
Top Class Actions reports the class action lawsuit filed by Plaintiff Michael Peikoff against Paramount alleges the film production company violated the FCRA by obtaining a consumer report about him illegally. The Plaintiff claims Paramount violated the FCRA by not disclosing and obtaining consent from the employee or potential employee to obtain a credit report. According to the complaint filed against Paramount in a California federal court on January 7, 2015:
This class action alleges that certain policies and practices followed by Defendants Paramount Pictures Corporation and the Doe Defendants in furnishing, using, procuring, and/or causing to be procured consumer reports for employment purposes violate the provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. 1681, et seq. Specifically, Defendants violated Section 1681b(b) of the FCRA by furnishing, using, procuring, and/or causing to be procured consumer reports for employment purposes by failing to make proper disclosures required thereunder and/or by failing to make and/or obtain the required certifications required thereunder.
Top Class Actions reports the Plaintiff claims that when applying for a job with Paramount in February 2011 the application stated: “I authorize the reference listed above, as well as other individuals whom Paramount contacts, to provide Paramount with any and all information concerning my previous employment and any other pertinent information. Further, I release all parties and persons from all liability from any damages that may result from furnishing such information to Paramount as well as from any use or disclosure of such information by Paramount of any of its agents, employees or representatives.”
Top Class Actions reports the class action lawsuit alleges that Paramount “used this language as permission to obtain a credit report about him, which he says is in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.” According to the FCRA, the consent form may not be attached or hidden with any other forms, such as on a job application: “A consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report for employment purposes only if . . . a clear and conspicuous disclosure has been made in writing to the consumer at any time before the report is procured or caused to be procured, in a document that consists solely of the disclosure, that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes.”
Top Class Actions also reports that under the FCRA employers must obtain “authorization in writing” by the individual in order to procure a report about an employee or prospective employee. The class action lawsuit claims “Paramount knew or should have known about its legal obligations under the FCRA. Paramount obtained or had available substantial written materials that apprised it of its duties under the FCRA.” In addition, the class action lawsuit alleges that “Paramount intentionally and/or recklessly acted consciously in breaching its known duties and depriving plaintiff and other class members their rights under the FCRA.”
The lawsuit proposes a class of individuals who had a consumer reports obtained by Paramount for employment purposes “without first providing a clear and conspicuous disclosure in writing to the consumer at any time before the report was procured or caused to be procured, in a document that consists solely of the disclosure, that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes.” If found liable for FCRA violations, Paramount would have to pay $100 to $1,000 for each violation. The class action lawsuit is Peikoff v. Paramount Pictures Corporation, Case No. 3:15-cv-00068, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The complete text of the complaint filed is at http://ia902601.us.archive.org/26/items/gov.uscourts.cand.283552/gov.uscourts.cand.283552.1.0.pdf.
FCRA Class Action Lawsuits A Growing Trend
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) predicts class action lawsuits for FCRA violations will increase in 2015 – even if no one is actually harmed – and this is one of the ‘ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2015’ selected by ESR founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen. For the complete list of trends, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/ESR-Top-Ten-Background-Check-Trends. Rosen will present a complimentary webinar ‘ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2015’ on Wednesday, January 21, 2015. To register for this webinar, please visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3656006267617568513.