Lawsuit Against Kohl’s Over Background Checks Dismissed

GavelFCRAClassActionLawsuit 

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

A California federal judge has granted a Motion to Dismiss in a class action lawsuit against Kohl’s Department Stores Inc. that claimed the company conducted improper background checks on job applicants in violation of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

In the decision filed October 5, 2015, U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero found that the two former Kohl’s employees who filed the lawsuit – Kayonie Coleman and Diane Pemberton – failed to demonstrate any “willful” violation of the FCRA by Kohl’s and dismissed all claims.

According to the lawsuit, Kohl’s employed Coleman in a California store from October 2012 to June 2013 and employed Pemberton in a Kissimmee, Florida store from mid-2014 to January 15, 2014. The plaintiffs alleged that Kohl’s unlawfully acquired consumer reports of applicants.

The plaintiffs claimed the Consent & Disclosure Form used by Kohl’s for background checks was not a “stand-alone disclosure” as required by the FCRA but part of the same packet as the Employment Application. However, the court found the two forms were separate documents:

Each form separately bears Pemberton’s and Coleman’s signature. The Employment Application is formatted in landscape, bears a separate title, and contains a separate form code. More importantly, the Employment Application appears to serve a different and distinct function.

In addition, the court found no support in the FCRA or case law that the documents could not be presented together. The court also found the Consent & Disclosure form did not violate the FCRA despite containing other “relevant information” with consent and disclosure information.

The class action lawsuit is COLEMAN v. KOHL’S DEPARTMENT STORES, INC., Case No. 15-cv-02588-JCS in the U.S. District Court Northern District of California. The Motion to Dismiss is at www.esrcheck.com/file/COLEMAN-v-KOHLS-DEPARTMENT-STORES.pdf.

Class Action Lawsuits Over Background Checks Becoming Common

Background checks help ensure a safe workplace but are also subject to litigation if not done in full compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). For more information about legal background checks, please visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at www.esrcheck.com.

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