A multinational consumer health care products company and its staffing agency are the latest companies to be hit with a putative class action accusing them of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  Plaintiff T. Jason Noye alleges that the company and staffing agency violated the FCRA by rescinding his job offer based on a criminal conviction found in his consumer report without properly disclosing the report’s employment purposes.  The suit was filed in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

In the Complaint, the plaintiff alleges that “defendants systematically violate … the FCRA by using consumer reports to make adverse employment decisions without, beforehand, providing the person who is the subject of the report sufficient and timely notification and a copy of the report and a summary of rights under the FCRA, effectively leaving the person who is the subject of the report without any opportunity to correct any errors on the report or to even know who prepared the background report about him or her which formed a basis for the adverse action.”

According to the Complaint, the plaintiff applied for a position as an “operations supervisor” with the company through the staffing agency and was formally offered the job in writing, which he accepted the same day.  The plaintiff signed a disclosure form from the staffing agency that allegedly did not comply with FCRA requirements.  Specifically, the Complaint alleges that the form did not include a “clear and conspicuous” standalone disclosure that the consumer report may be used for employment purposes because it included improper and extraneous language that violates the FCRA’s requirement that the disclosure be in a document consisting “solely” of the disclosure.

The plaintiff alleges that the disclosure form required applicants to “among other things, authorize the procurement of a consumer report ‘at any time, and any number of times, as [the staffing agency] in its sole discretion determines is necessary before, during or after my employment until I revoke this authorization in writing.’”  In addition, the form contained state-specific information as well as language permitting the defendants to obtain permission to acquire written or oral information from business, professional, or personal references provided on the application or resume.  

The Complaint also alleges that upon information and belief, the company relies upon the staffing agency’s use of the disclosure form to obtain background reports on applicants for employment with the company.

In his Complaint, Plaintiff states that during the application process he acknowledged that had been convicted of a crime and provided additional relevant information to the staffing agency.  Although the plaintiff cleared screening with the agency, he later learned that the company had its own employment screening process and was informed that the company would not be hiring him. 

According to the plaintiff, the criminal background report procured on him was inaccurate and misleading because it reported certain “summary offenses as misdemeanors, and listed three additional purported safety violations, all of which cost Plaintiff his job with [the company].” 

The plaintiff brings class allegations against both companies on behalf of a nationwide class comprised of “thousands” of individuals who were subjected to an adverse employment decision from the staffing agency or the company under similar alleged circumstances.  The Complaint also alleges that the defendants’ conduct and omissions were willful because the companies knew what they were required to provide under federal law.