A proposed class action alleges Amazon.com, Inc. and contractor Allegheny Direct Logistics, LLC have violated Pennsylvania law by using criminal record information related to arrests that did not result in a misdemeanor or felony conviction as the basis for disqualifying an individual from employment.
The lawsuit, filed on January 7 in the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, says the defendants have “consciously disregard[ed]” the mandate set by the state’s Criminal History Records Information Act (CHRIA).
The plaintiff claims she was “victimized” by Amazon.com and Allegheny Direct Logistics’ practices in that she was refused employment as a delivery driver in December 2020 based on a record of an arrest that resulted in charges that were ultimately dismissed. Though the plaintiff protested being told that she could not be hired, Allegheny Direct informed the woman that it was Amazon’s policy, not theirs, to not hire her based on her arrest, the suit says.
Public policy in Pennsylvania dictates that “only records related to felony and misdemeanor convictions can be considered for employment application purposes and only to the extent they relate to the applicant’s suitability for the position for which he applied,” the lawsuit explains.
More specifically, CHRIA allows Pennsylvania employers to use only information received as part of an applicant’s criminal history record and information on felony and misdemeanor convictions in deciding an individual’s suitability for employment, the case says.
According to the complaint, Pennsylvania courts construe this provision to mean that an individual’s experience with the criminal justice system that “falls short of a conviction for a felony or a misdemeanor” cannot be a consideration for a private employer in the state. The lawsuit contests that Amazon and its co-defendant could “readily and easily limit” their consideration to criminal history records that involve specifically felony and misdemeanor convictions yet have no procedure designed to exclude this information.
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