Litigation Update: FCRA Class Action Filed Against Time Warner

Angela Preston

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Litigation Update

Time Warner Cable has been named in a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) class action lawsuit filed last week in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The class action complaint was filed on February 6, 2015, alleging that the company violated portions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act in its employment background screening process. The Plaintiff is a frequent flier—he’s the same guy who was named in one of the FCRA class action cases we reported on last week. Same law firm, same plaintiff, same allegations. Once again, the case focuses on the portion of the FCRA that requires a “clear and conspicuous disclosure” about the background check that is made in writing “in a document that consists solely of the disclosure.”

This time around, the Plaintiff alleges that in September of last year he completed an online application for employment with Time Warner. He claims that among several documents included in an online application, he completed a form titled “Background Check & Drug Screening Authorization.” According to the Plaintiff, the form is “buried” and violates the “sole” document requirement. The complaint is seeking damages for all individuals who applied for work with Time Warner for the past five years.

Case Name: Cory Groshek  v. Time Warner Cable Inc, Case No. 2:15CV00157, U.S. District Ct. for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

File Date: February 6, 2015

Cause of Action: Class Action, Fair Credit Reporting Act 15 USC 1681(b)(2)(a), Disclosure and Authorization

Bottom Line: While consumers have a right to clear and unambiguous disclosures, these copy-cat lawsuits often do not take into account all of the facts and are unjustly capitalizing on a technical point of a much broader statute. At some point we hope to get clarity (either from the courts or the FTC) on the disclosure issue so that these law suits can be checked. In the meantime, make sure your online applications include a clear and conspicuous disclosure, or in the alternative, provide a separate paper form for your applicants.

 

Image courtesy of pugetsoundblogs.com



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Angela Preston
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Angela Preston

Vice President of Compliance & General Counsel at EmployeeScreenIQ
Angela Preston has more than 20 years as a licensed attorney and over 10 years in the background screening area. She serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), is a member of the NAPBS Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC), and is actively involved in the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and ASIS International. Angela is also a member of the Ohio State and Columbus Bar Associations. Angela has direct oversight and management of compliance programs, and will provide guidance in complex legal matters including state and federal legislation, EEO law, client education, adjudication, pre/adverse action process, NAPBS Accreditation and client and vendor contract management.
Angela Preston
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