Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
A home improvement retailer is facing a proposed class action lawsuit claiming violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that prohibits employers from taking adverse action against job applicants based on their background check report without first giving them a copy of the report, according to ClassAction.org.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina on February 3, 2022, the lawsuit HALE v. LOWE’S COMPANIES, INC. claimed that defendant Lowe’s use of background reports to screen job applicants violated the FCRA, a federal law that regulates background checks for employment purposes.
The complaint claimed Plaintiff Hale was offered a job by Defendant Lowe’s in March 2020 contingent on him passing a background check and Plaintiff was informed he did not pass in April 2020. Neither Defendant nor its consumer reporting agency (CRA) gave Plaintiff a copy of his report or a statement of his rights under the FCRA.
“Providing a copy of the criminal background report as well as a statement of consumer rights before making an adverse employment decision arms the nation’s millions of job applicants with the knowledge and information needed to challenge inaccurate, incomplete, and misleading public-records-based reports,” the complaint said.
“Had Defendant bothered to provide Plaintiff with a copy of the consumer report and given him the chance to explain the contents of his report prior to taking adverse action against him, Defendant would have learned that, contrary to the information in the report…, Plaintiff has no felony convictions,” the complaint claimed.
“But Plaintiff was never given an opportunity to explain anything to Defendant prior to his abrupt termination,” the complaint stated. “Defendant’s termination of Plaintiff’s employment caused Plaintiff damages in the form of lost pay, and emotional damages due to stress caused by the loss of a job he should certainly have retained.”
The FCRA allows consumers to dispute or explain inaccurate or derogatory information in their background checks before a hiring decision is made, and the Defendant’s alleged conduct was “egregious and willful” since a previous lawsuit BROWN v. LOWE’S COMPANIES, INC. alleged an “identical violation,” the complaint stated.
“So while Defendant should know better about how it performs the simple duties the FCRA imposes upon it in the employment context, the settlement that resulted from Brown apparently caused no substantive changes in the way in which Lowe’s uses background checks in the employment context,” the complaint claimed.
Enacted in 1970, the FCRA promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information contained in the files of CRAs, protects consumers from the willful and/or negligent inclusion of inaccurate information in their consumer reports, and regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer information.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a service offering of ClearStar, a leading provider of Human Capital Integrity℠ technology-based services, specializing in background, credit, and medical screening – offers background screening solutions that comply with the FCRA. To learn more, contact ESR today.
NOTE: Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a service offering of ClearStar – reminds readers that allegations made in class action lawsuits are not proof a business or individual violated any law, rule, or regulation since they are in the pleading stage with no factual adjudications yet.
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