The Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina denied summary judgment to the defendants on all counts in the case Brown, et al. v. Lowe’s Companies, Inc. et al, granted leave for plaintiffs to amend their complaint, and set the stage for the lawsuit to expand into a potentially large-scale class action. Each of the three named plaintiffs alleges that the defendants violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by taking adverse employment actions–in each case, denying them employment–on the basis of consumer reports purchased from Lexisnexis Screening Solutions.
According to the plaintiffs, because Lowe’s routinely bases employment decisions on consumer reports, including criminal-background reports, they are subject to several provisions of the FCRA. Specifically, Lowe’s must provide a copy of a report to the applicant prior to taking adverse employment action, along with a summary of their rights under the FCRA, and must give each applicant the opportunity to correct inaccuracies in his or her report. Plaintiffs allege further that Lowe’s routinely and knowingly fails to provide reports and correction opportunities to the many thousands who submit employment applications to them and for whom they solicit consumer reports.
Plaintiff Jason D. Brown was denied employment on the basis of a Lexisnexis report that contained several entries of criminal-history information for a different person named “Jason Brown.” He was denied employment before a copy of his report was sent to him.
Plaintiff Laszlo Boszo applied online for a job at Lowe’s, and as part of that application ordered a background report from Lexisnexis. The report indicated that Mr. Bozso had been convicted of a felony in 1999, but failed to include the information that this conviction had been overturned on appeal in 2000. Mr. Bozso was never even provided with a copy of his report
Plaintiff Meris Dudzic also alleges that she was denied employment on the basis a report from Lexisnexis. She does not allege that the report contained inaccuracies, but claims that that she was never furnished with a copy of the report on the basis of which Lowes decided not to hire her.
The class of plaintiffs are all individuals who applied for employment at Lowes, had their applications denied on the basis of Lexisnexis consumer reports, and received copies of these reports either after their applications were denied or not at all. Plaintiffs further allege, in counts two through four against Lexisnexis, that the reporting company failed to provide notice that reports were being issued, failed to conduct reinvestigation of disputed information, and failed to follow “reasonable procedures” to ensure accuracy of the reports. Every one of these allegations survived the motions to dismiss, and if it is true, as alleged, that Lowe’s handles most of their job applications in similar ways, the class of plaintiffs will likely include many thousands.
If you are an employee and you believe your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act have been violated, please contact The Harman Firm, LLP.