Avis, popular car rental company, recently agreed to pay out $2.7 million to resolve a FCRA background check lawsuit. According to the suit, Avis improperly acquired and used background checks in order to reject job applications.
Angela Fuller, plaintiff, originally sought to certify a settlement class of approximately 45,000 people. Fuller now urges the court to grant final approval to the settlement deal, as she believes it is fair to all class members. Separately, Fuller’s lawyers sought $891,000 to cover fees and expenses (1/3 of the total $2.7 million proposed settlement). The final approval hearing will take place on November 28, 2017.
Fuller originally sued Avis in June 2015. She claimed the company denied her a rental sales position in 2013 because they ran a background check that violated FCRA requirements. Fuller claims that Avis did not appropriately disclose in a form designated for that purpose alone that they might run a background check and access Fuller’s consumer report. Fuller also claims that the company did not provide her with a pre-adverse action notice alongside a copy of the report used to make the decision and a written description of her FCRA rights before they rejected her job application on the basis of her background check.
The report used during Fuller’s job application process at Avis showed that she had received a $40 ticket for drinking a malt beverage as a vehicle passenger in 1985 in the state of North Carolina. In the complaint filed by Fuller, she states the reported information was incorrect as the ticket was only an infraction, not a conviction. According to FCRA, only convictions can be reported more than seven years after the incident.
The proposed settlement was initially submitted for approval in March. It was granted preliminary approval at the end of July. According to the terms of the settlement, class members will receive cash payments or other compensation depending on which “group” they are in. The agreement will also offer relief to individuals whose claims against Avis rental company lay outside the FCRA’s two-year statute of limitations.
A substantial portion of the funds would be paid to anyone who was the subject of a consumer report pulled by Avis to be used during the job application process or for other employment reasons between June 9th, 2013 and April 28, 2016 through a form similar to the one used by Fuller. This group is referred to as the “2-Year Inadequate Disclosure Group.” Members in this group number over 21,000 and would each receive a $45 payment for a total of $968,000.
The second group will receive the largest individual payments. This group of 590 people was subject to a background report pulled by Avis to whom Sterling was advised to provide a pre-adverse action notice on the part of Avis between June 9, 2013 and April 28, 2016. Each will receive $45 for being a part of the first group as well as an additional $650.
Other members of the class number about 25,000 people that were all the subject of a consumer report pulled by Avis between June 9, 2010 and June 8, 2013. 601 in this group were also supposed to receive a pre-adverse action notice from Sterling on Avis’ behalf during the same time frame. These claims are similar to Fuller’s but are outside the FCRA’s statute of limitations. All members with claims falling outside the statute of limitations will receive a $20 voucher to apply toward a weekday car rental at Avis.
Fuller requested an additional $15,000 award for her services as the class representative.
If you have questions about background checks during the employment process or the statute of limitations for claims, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.