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FCRA Lawsuit Against Amazon Will Move Forward after Florida Ruling

By Michael Klazema on 3/5/2017
A lawsuit filed against Amazon.com for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act will move forward after a Florida judge ruled that the suit has validity. Per a report from Lexology.com, Amazon had petitioned the court to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that their offense was relatively minor and not enough to constitute an FCRA violation. A federal court judge in Florida disagreed, which means that the case will proceed, coverage explains, likely ending in a settlement between Amazon.com and the plaintiff.

The lawsuit involves an incident from 2015, reports explain. A Florida man applied for a job with one of Amazon’s order fulfillment centers. During the application process, he noticed that Amazon did not provide a standalone form asking applicants to consent to background check screenings. The FCRA requires employers to follow specific guidelines in disclosing their background check policies and requesting background check consent from applicants. The FCRA requires employers to inform applicants, for instance, that background check findings may be used in employment decisions.

The FCRA stipulates how this disclosure and request for consent must be presented. The disclosure must be provided “in writing and in a standalone format” and cannot be included as part of the employment application. The disclosure must be a separate document and should not include any other information that may “confuse or detract from the notice.”

Per coverage, the plaintiff in the lawsuit claims that Amazon separated the background check disclosure and background check authorization steps into two forms. He says that the disclosure form was included as part of the broader job application instead of being a completely standalone document. He claims that the background check authorization form included “extraneous information” about job applicant rights in states other than Florida—information that didn’t apply to him.

Under these complaints, Amazon is being accused of violating the FCRA in two ways, reports note. The first alleged violation is that Amazon did not provide a standalone background check disclosure form. The second alleged violation is that Amazon’s background check authorization form included information that may have “confuse[d] or detract[ed] from the notice.”

Amazon’s petition to the Florida judge argued that the supposed violations were small and technical in nature and did not give the plaintiff the right to sue. The judge disagreed, reports note, affirming that the plaintiff had the necessary standing to sue and that Amazon may have willfully violated the FCRA.

Sources:

http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=475c6168-0d06-44e7-8a0b-85a5d56912d7

https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/using-consumer-reports-what-employers-need-know
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