Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
Lowe’s Companies, Inc. may offer more than 450,000 people a $50 gift card or a $35 check in a settlement agreement for a class action lawsuit that claims the home improvement store violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) with background checks, reports Time Warner Cable News in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Time Warner Cable News reports that the settlement could cost Lowe’s – which has denied that it violated the FCRA – more than $22.5 million. People wishing to apply for a payment need to do so by May 16, 2016. A hearing to consider final approval of the settlement will be held on June 6, 2016 (UPDATE: Lowe’s Pays $2.2M To Settle Applicant Background Check Suit).
According to the Lowe’s FCRA Settlement Webpage, when lead Plaintiffs Jason Brown, Laszlo Bozso, Meris Dudzic, and April Ingram-Fleming applied for a job at Lowe’s they were asked to sign a disclosure and authorization form that contained a liability waiver so background checks could be obtained about them.
The Plaintiffs alleged that this form violated the FCRA, a federal law that governs background checks and promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information in files of consumer reporting agencies (CRAs), because it contained additional language other than a disclosure under this law.
According to the FCRA § 604.(b)(2)(A)(i), a person may not procure a consumer report for employment purposes with respect to any consumer unless “a clear and conspicuous disclosure has been made in writing to the consumer” that is contained in “a document that consists solely of the disclosure.”
The Notice of Class Action Settlement could affect approximately 450,533 people who applied for jobs at Lowe’s between October 9, 2012 and July 9, 2015. The receive payment, they must submit a form confirming their current address and select between a Lowe’s $50 gift card or a $35 check.
This case is Brown, et al. v. Lowe’s Companies, Inc., et al., No. 5:13‐CV‐00079‐RLV‐DSC, filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. A copy of the preliminary approval for the settlement agreement is at http://www.lowesfcrasettlement.com/document/218.
Class action lawsuits for alleged violations of the FCRA, have sharply increased. Well known companies such as Food Lion, Home Depot, Chuck E. Cheese, BMW, Whole Foods, Calvin Klein, and Wells Fargo have paid settlements in FCRA lawsuits ranging from $716,400 to $12 million since the start of 2015.
ESR Whitepaper on FCRA Lawsuits
Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) offers a complimentary whitepaper on “Common Ways Prospective or Current Employees Sue Employers Under the FCRA” on the rise of FCRA class action lawsuits at http://www.esrcheck.com/Whitepapers/Ways-Employees-Sue-Employers-Under-FCRA/.
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