A proposed class action lawsuit filed in Florida claims that Waste Management, Inc. of Florida and parent company Waste Management, Inc. (Waste Management) failed to follow Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirements regarding employee background checks.
The case claims that Waste Management was not legally authorized to perform background checks because the company failed to provide employees and job applicants proper notice that their consumer reports would be sought and obtained.
Under FCRA regulations, an employer may obtain consumer reports for the purpose of conducting background checks on current or potential employees if and only if the following conditions are met, according to the complaint:
“A clear and conspicuous disclosure has been made in writing to the consumer at any time before the report is procured or caused to be procured, in a document that consists solely of the disclosure that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes; and”
“The consumer has authorized the procurement of the consumer report in writing (which authorization may be made on the document referred to in clause (i)).”
The lead plaintiff in the case says he applied for and was offered a job with Waste Management pending the results of a background check. The complaint alleges that even though the plaintiff was provided with a disclosure and authorization form stating that his consumer report would be obtained by his employer, the notice was not compliant with the FCRA. Specifically, the suit claims that the notice was not presented “in a document that consists solely of the disclosure” and instead included “a plethora of extraneous information in disregard of the FCRA’s stand-alone mandate.” The plaintiff says the additional information included on the form confused him as to his rights.
FCRA regulations also require that an employer provide a compliant form and receive proper authorization from the candidate or employee prior to performing a background check, the case states. Because the form used by Waste Management was allegedly not compliant with FCRA requirements, the case claims the plaintiff was not able to provide his valid authorization, rendering the background check illegal.
Furthermore, the complaint claims Waste Management, before obtaining background checks from third-party credit reporting agencies, was required to provide certification to these firms that the company would follow any and all FCRA requirements regarding the use of the reports. The case claims, however, that the defendants knowingly issued false certifications in violation of the FCRA.
The lawsuit, originally filed in Florida’s circuit court, has since been removed to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
The suit seeks to award class members statutory damages between $100 and $1,000 for each alleged FCRA violation described above.