In a class action settlement that was recently granted final approval, Publix Super Markets Inc. agreed to pay nearly $6.8 million in a class action lawsuit settlement over background checks under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Plaintiff, Erin Knights, applied for a job with Publix in early 2013 through an electronic kiosk.  The lawsuit alleges that Publix’s electronic application included an authorization for a background check, which Plaintiff claims violated the requirement under the FCRA that businesses obtaining a consumer report for employment purposes notify the applicant of that request “in a document consisting solely of the disclosure.”  Publix denied any wrongdoing and was not found liable in court, but agreed to the settlement “because of the substantial expense of litigation … and the disruption to its business operations.”

The class settlement includes people who applied for work at Publix stores and were subjected to background checks between March 12, 2012, and May 13, 2014.  The settlement class consists of 90,633 individuals, each of whom would receive $75.  The actual amount netted by each class member would be approximately $48 after the requested attorneys’ fees are deducted from the settlement fund.

The suit is one of a number of such recently filed lawsuits alleging that companies violated this provision of the FCRA.  For instance, as we previously reported, Whole Foods Market Group, Inc. also was recently sued in a putative class action for allegedly violating the FCRA.

Troutman Sanders LLP has extensive experience in FCRA litigation and compliance with respect to challenged disclosure forms.  The growing number of lawsuits challenging employer disclosure forms warrants careful review of such forms by companies.  Troutman Sanders will continue to monitor this area of law.