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Suit Alleges Violation of New York Discrimination Laws Against Online Marketplace Company

A new class lawsuit accuses Fresh Direct LLC and Fresh Direct Holdings, Inc. of violating the laws by categorically excluding individuals with certain types of criminal records from positions of employment.

The lawsuit claims that Fresh Direct failed to consider all eight factors listed in New York's corrections law before refusing to hire an applicant or fire a worker who has been previously convicted of a crime. State and city human rights laws require employers to consider all eight factors before rendering employment-based decisions for applicants and workers.

The suit alleges that Fresh Direct excluded workers based on the following conviction histories:

Conviction History

Exclusion

Violent crime in the past 20 years

Positions involving direct customer contact or close working situations with others

Certain crimes against minors

Positions involving direct customer contact

Certain crimes associated with dishonesty that occurred at any time in the past

Any and all positions

Certain crimes associated with motor vehicles

All positions requiring use of a motor vehicle

According to the complaint, Article 23-A and New York state and city anti-bias laws require employers to consider New York's public policy which encourages employing individuals with past criminal convictions. Factors employers should assess in rendering employment decisions in these situations include:

  • the specific duties and responsibilities associated with the position;
  • the time that has lapsed since the criminal offense occurred; and
  • the age of the individual at the time of conviction.

The suit charges that Fresh Direct "disproportionately" emphasized some of the Article 23-A factors and failed to properly evaluate others, resulting in "discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, and national origin."

Employers are encouraged to review internal hiring policies to ensure compliance with these laws as it pertains to the state of New York and New York City. It is critical that positions are individually analyzed from a multitude of perspectives to establish appropriate and compliant exclusion terms.

Posted: May 27, 2020


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