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Background Check Lawsuits: If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Another

On July 1, a federal court in New York certified a class of unsuccessful Hispanic and African-American applicants alleging the U.S. Census Bureau discriminated against them by requiring applicants to provide the Bureau with detailed information about their prior criminal records and improperly rejecting applicants on the basis of their prior criminal records. Houser v. Pritzker, Case No. 10cv3105-FM (S.D.N.Y. Jul. 1, 2014). Specifically, the plaintiffs are alleging that the Bureau’s policies had a disparate impact on Hispanic and African-Americans because they tend to have higher arrest and conviction rates than whites.

In Antoine v. Aaron’s Inc., Case No. 1:14-cv-02120 (N.D. Ga. filed Jul. 3, 2014), an unsuccessful applicant has filed a putative class action against Atlanta-based retailer Aaron’s in Georgia federal court alleging that Aaron’s violated the FCRA by rejecting applicants or terminating employees without providing them copies of background check reports prior to taking action.

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