A class action claims Acadia Pharmaceuticals accessed applicants’ credit reports without disclosing FCRA-mandated information and used the reports as the basis for adverse action without proper notice.
A proposed class action out of California claims drug manufacturer Acadia Pharmaceuticals, Inc. accessed applicants’ consumer reports without making proper disclosures, didn’t allow candidates to review information in the reports, and illegally took “adverse action” against applicants.
The lead plaintiff in the case claims that he applied for a position with the defendant and received an offer for the job on October 4, 2018. According to the complaint, the defendant, after offering the man the position, directed third-party consumer reporting agency Justifacts Credential Verification to provide Acadia with the plaintiff’s background report.
On or about October 15, the case claims, the plaintiff received a phone call from two of the defendant’s employees, who informed him that Acadia had found a pending criminal charge on his report. Two days later, the defendant allegedly rescinded its offer of employment as a result of the charge, which was dismissed five days later.
The case contends that Acadia failed to follow Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulations in pulling the plaintiff’s report, specifically with regard to the requirement that a “clear and conspicuous disclosure” be given in writing notifying the affected party that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes.
According to the complaint, Acadia did provide a notice to the plaintiff of their intent to access his consumer report, but this notice contained a liability waiver in violation of the FCRA. The case alleges that the disclosure the plaintiff received contained a statement that read, “I release employers and persons named in my application from all liability for any damages on account of his/her furnishing said information.” The lawsuit argues the inclusion of this liability waiver violates a key provision of the FCRA that “unambiguously bars the inclusion of a liability waiver on the same document as a disclosure” and requires the disclosure to be situated in a document by itself.
Moreover, the FCRA requires companies to provide a pre-adverse action notice containing disclosures about third-party consumer reporting agencies and a written description of rights under the FCRA prior to taking adverse action against an applicant based on information in his or her consumer report. The FCRA also mandates that employers provide candidates with an opportunity to view their consumer report and a window of at least five business days to dispute any information therein, the suit states. According to the case, the defendant failed to provide the plaintiff with a proper adverse action notice, as well as ample opportunity to dispute or even view his consumer report.
The suit looks to represent a class encompassed of anyone whose consumer report was used by Acadia for employment purposes in the last two years and a subclass for those whom the defendant took adverse action against based on information in their report.