Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over MULTIPLE FCRA Violations
In the last two years, the number of class-action lawsuits claiming non-compliance with the FCRA continues to rise without any signs of slowing down. The current trend for litigation appears to be targeting three specific violations:
- The use of improper Disclosure and Authorization Forms
- Incorrect usage or failure to use the Adverse Action Process
- Failing to use “reasonable procedures to obtain maximum possible accuracy” when using a Criminal Database Search.
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Waffle House for alleged “systematic and willful violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act” in ALL three of these targeted areas. https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/348260-background-check-waffle-house-might-violate-fcra-rules/
The plaintiff claims the restaurant unfairly denied him employment based on screening practices that are allegedly not compliant with FCRA regulations. The plaintiff alleges the following FCRA violations were committed:
- He was not provided with proper disclosures before performing a background check.
- He was not given the chance to dispute the felony charge revealed on his background check because he was never provided with a copy of the completed report along with a pre-adverse action letter.
- He was not provided with a post-adverse action letter.
The case is further complicated because until March of 2015, Waffle House used a third-party reporting agency called PublicData to perform their background checks. PublicData is a paid search website that provides public record information for pennies on the dollar and displays this statement on their website: “PublicData.com is not a consumer reporting agency and data provided by PublicData.com does not constitute a “consumer report” as that term is defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act.” However, the class action argues that PublicData is a “consumer reporting agency” under the FCRA, because it gathers data on consumers for the express purpose of selling reports to third parties. In conclusion, the suit argues that PublicData “maintains absolutely no policies or procedures” that comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) because it claims it is not a credit reporting agency. It allegedly denies liability for any inaccuracies in the reports and does not provide any way for consumers to dispute inaccurate information.
Class Action Lawsuits can become very costly because they typically seek damages on behalf of all consumers who were treated in the same fashion. Where the action that forms the basis of the lawsuit is alleged to be willful, a class action suit can seek from $100 to $1,000 per member of the class for each violation of the FCRA. In addition, such lawsuits also request attorney’s fees and costs and nearly always include claims for punitive damages with a total cost ranging from 20 to 33 percent of the class recovery.
For detailed articles on proper Authorization and Disclosure forms, The Adverse Action Process, and the uses and pitfalls of Criminal Database Searches, please visit Americhek.com and read Newsletters Volumes 10, 11, and 12.