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Employment Background Screenings & Disney

In the recent class action suit, Culberson v. The Walt Disney Company, Robert L. Culberson, ("Culberson") filed suit against the defendant alleging it knowingly violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA").  The complaint states that The Walt Disney Company, ("Disney") accessed Culberson's credit file during the job application process and failed to comply with the FCRA after it took adverse action against Culberson.  Under the law, after making the decision not to hire Culberson based on the information contained in his credit file, Disney had an obligation to provide Culberson with an adverse action letter, a copy of his credit report that was used during the application process and a copy of his rights under the statute.     

The premise of the law is that every consumer/job applicant should be entitled to an opportunity to respond to adverse action that may be taken against them based on information reported in their credit file; perhaps the information used to deny the applicant is inaccurate, outdated, expunged, or just does not belong to the consumer in the first place.  The purpose of the employment background check laws are to protect consumers from being denied a job opportunity because of inaccurate reporting.  

In this case, Culberson applied for a job with Disney and during the employment background check, his report showed a criminal conviction from an assault and battery charge dating back to 1998, when the consumer was just 19 years old.  The conviction had been expunged from his record in 2010 but was still reporting on his credit file.  Because Disney failed to notify Culberson that it was accessing his credit file during the application process, Culberson had no opportunity to see his report prior to the access and correct the inaccuracy.  Furthermore after the information was removed, Disney still refused to reevaluate his application.

When signing a contract with the background check agency, Disney agreed to take care of the adverse action reporting and all requirements under the FCRA.  Despite this agreement with the agency, Disney's conduct was in complete disregard for the letter of the law.  It failed to provide a pre-adverse action notice to Culberson nor did it send him written notice of the adverse action.  Employers need to understand the reason for this policy and comply with the law if they want to avoid FCRA suits.

If your rights have been violated under the FCRA during an employment background check and you would like to discuss your situation in greater detail, contact SmithMarco P.C. for a free case review.        

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