Grocery stores settle class action suits over FCRA violations
three large grocery store chains have found themselves the target of lawsuits for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. All three of them chose the wiser route, to settle the class action lawsuits rather than risk going to court and losing their cases. Whole Foods, Food Lion/Delhaize, and Publix Supermarkets each settled out of court, providing more than 112,000 former job applicants with settlements totaling more than $10.6 million. The lawsuits against the grocery stores covered a variety of FCRA violations. The Whole Foods lawsuit stated that the disclosure statement that applicants were required to sign did not make it clear that they were providing permission to be the subject of background checks. Delhaize was caught taking adverse action against job applicants without sending disclosure notices regarding those adverse actions. Whole Foods denied they had violated the FCRA, but still chose to settle out of court; if they had lost the lawsuit, they would have been responsible for a whopping $20 million settlement — $1,000 for each of the 20,000 individuals in the lawsuit. Instead, they settled for $803,000. Even settling out of court can get costly, however. The Publix Supermarkets chain ended up settling with its 90,000 plaintiffs for $6.8 million last year, and Delhaize America — which owns Food Lion stores — settled its suit with 2,500 applicants for $3 million. MYB recommends that you do conduct thorough background checks when hiring new employees, but to avoid FCRA-related lawsuits, work with a background screening company on your application paperwork so you can be sure you meet all the requirements of the law.]]>
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