2019Criminal Records

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Macy’s, Inc. is facing a class action lawsuit for alleged discrimination against job applicants and employees with criminal records and violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), and the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

“Macy’s – one of the largest American retailers – rejects job applicants, revokes job offers, and terminates the employment of people with criminal histories, even when the applicants’ and employees’ convictions are old, minor, and/or unrelated to the positions at issue,” the lawsuit claims.

“Because Macy’s’ policies and practices reinforce the racial discrimination present in the criminal justice system and result in unjustified racial disparities in employment opportunities, they are unlawful under Title VII and the NYCHRL,” states the lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York.

The lawsuit filed by The Fortune Society – a nonprofit organization providing reentry assistance – and Plaintiff Jenetta Rolfer claims “Macy’s’ criminal history screening policies and practices have a disparate impact on Black and Latino job applicants and employees in violation of Title VII and the NYCHRL.”

Plaintiff Rolfer was hired by Macy’s in 2018 but was terminated from the job after a consumer report from a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) – which Rolfer claims she did not receive a copy of – showed a misdemeanor conviction for public nuisance from a 10-year-old traffic-related incident.

Plaintiff Rolfer claims Macy’s “willfully” violated the FCRA by taking “adverse action against applicants and employees without first providing the applicant and/or employee a copy of their consumer report, a notice of their rights, or a timely notification of Macy’s’ intent to take an adverse action.”

Title VII makes it illegal to discriminate against a person on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – the government agency which enforces laws prohibiting employment discrimination – also helps to enforce Title VII.

The NYCHRL prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, creed, age, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, gender, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, and partnership status, and provides protection against discrimination in employment for arrest or conviction records.

Passed by Congress in 1970, the FCRA 15 U.S.C. § 1681 promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information contained in the files of CRAs – the official term for screening firms – to protect consumers from the willful and/or negligent inclusion of inaccurate information in consumer reports.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – offers an ex-offender resources page to help job applicants with criminal histories reenter the workforce. To learn more, please visit www.esrcheck.com/Applicant-Support-Center/Ex-Offender-Resources/.

ESR reminds readers of the ESR News Blog that any allegations made in a class action lawsuit are not proof that a business or individual violated any law, rule, or regulation. There have been only allegations in the pleading stage and no factual adjudications at the current time.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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