Avis: FCRA Background Check Suit Ends in $2.7Million Deal

Avis FCRA Background Check Suit Ends in $2.7Million Deal.jpg

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.

Applicants Win Certification in Disneyland Background Check Lawsuit

On July 6, 2017 a California judge certified two classes of potential Disneyland employees alleging that the most magical place on earth violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Allegations indicate that Disneyland did not provide prospective employees with copies of their background checks prior to making the final decision in the hiring process. In failing to provide copies of their background checks they deprived them of the chance to contest any inaccurate reports.

California Superior Court Judge Ann I. Jones granted certification to a class of job applicants who were subject to “no hire” recommendations for Walt Disney Co. The “no hire” recommendations were based on info obtained in prospective employee background checks. Class certification was also granted to a class of applicants who signed a consent form later alleged to be insufficient in effectively disclosing that a screening would occur.

The class period for both will run from November 2011 through the present. During that time there were 715 “no hire” recommendations made for prospective employees. There were also 43,000 signed consent forms the plaintiffs’ allege were insufficient to comply with the law. Roger L. Culberson, plaintiff, alleges that he was deprived of his legal right and opportunity to correct inaccurate reports before Disney took adverse employment action resulting in him not getting the job.

In 1998, Culberson was convicted of batter, but the charge was later expunged from his record (2010). In 2011, Culberson was hired by Disney, but then told him not to bother reporting to mandatory orientation when they had a chance to look at his background check. Culberson claims the background check inaccurately reported 2010 as the date of the conviction. Culberson filed a complaint in 2013.

The “no hire” recommendation was placed in Culberson’s file by the Disney security department on December 8th, 2011. This was just one day after Disney received Sterling Infosystems Inc. background check including the inaccurate report of the conviction date. Culberson learned of the mistake when he called to check the status of his job application. He was advised he did not have a job. He contacted Sterling to contest the inaccurate information on December 9, 2011. On December 15th, 2011, the background report company issued a revised report removing the inaccurate reference to 2010 as the date of conviction. Culberson still wasn’t hired.

Disney claims it removed the “no hire” recommendation when the corrected report was received, but that once the issue was sorted out, they no longer needed to hire for seasonal work.

If you feel your rights were violated during the hiring process or if you had a company take adverse hiring action following a background check without first providing you with a copy, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.