On March 2, a class of job applicants requested that the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina approve a nearly $3 million settlement they had reached with Delhaize America LLC, Food Lion LLC’s parent company. The applicants had sued Delhaize – which owns Food Lion, Hannaford, and Bottom Dollar – for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., with its background check procedures.
The class action originally arose in March 2014 with Food Lion employment applicant Jeneen Brown. After being hired and promoted to customer sales manager, she alleged that Food Lion fired her because a background check produced by a customer reporting agency mistakenly labeled her a convicted felon. She accused the company of violating the FCRA by failing to provide her with a so-called “stand alone disclosure” form during her application process stating that a background check would be run. She eventually was joined by more than 59,000 others who had applied to Delhaize-owned stores in the past two years.
Under the proposed class settlement, every class member who had applied to a Delhaize store and had undergone a background check would receive about $48. If they had suffered unfavorable treatment because of the check, they would receive about $96. These amounts would drop to $31 and $61, respectively, if the court grants the requested attorneys’ fees and related expenses.
If approved, the class settlement would be the latest of its kind in a rash of recent FCRA class actions involving background checks. In October, Publix Super Markets Inc. paid about $6.8 million to settle a class action involving 90,000 job applicants making similar claims as here.