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Grocery chain named in class-action lawsuit for Fair Credit Reporting Act violations

The two lead plaintiffs allege that Rochester, New York-based Wegmans Food Markets did not clearly indicate that the company would be obtaining consumer reports on candidates during the hiring process.  

Filed in the U.S District Court for the Western District of New York, the lawsuit claims that during the electronic application process, Wegmans did not properly notify candidates that they would be the subject of a consumer report search. These claims pertain to hiring processes dating back five years and are applicable to all employees subject to the process during that time frame. According to the two lead plaintiffs, Ashleigh Wheeler and Jerah Brewster, both consented to a background check but were not clearly notified that Wegmans would acquire consumer reports for employment purposes.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires written notification to inform any employee or prospective employee that they will be the subject of a consumer report prior to the report being obtained. The FCRA requires the notification that the message be the singular and sole purpose of the notification. Furthermore, the FCRA states that applicants may obtain a copy of their report and have the right to dispute findings and/or correct errors.

The allegation is that Wegmans did not follow proper protocol as it pertains to those specifications. It is the plaintiffs’ position that this notification does not stand alone and was accompanied by additional language regarding release from all liabilities as it pertains to the release of information included in the background check. The inclusion of this clause is being categorized as misleading and a violation of the FCRA.

The class-action lawsuit is seeking $100 to $1,000 per violation, attorney’s fees and any potential punitive damages. It is estimated that the number of members in the class could be tens of thousands.

Source: Progressive Grocer, 12/27/2016

Posted: January 9, 2017

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