A magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon recently made findings and recommendations to dismiss a purported class action against Kroger subsidiary Fred Meyer. The suit alleges that the retailer’s background check process for prospective employees violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act by both failing to properly disclose that a report will be run, and failing to comply with the statute’s procedural requirements before taking adverse action against an applicant.
Effective March 17, 2017, the District of Columbia will join a dozen other jurisdictions across the country that prohibit an employer’s use of “credit information” in employment decisions. The new law, D.C. Act 21-673, amends the District of Columbia’s existing human rights law by adding credit information as a prohibited basis for discrimination for any employment decision (not just hiring), and applies to employers of any size. See D.C. Code § 2-1402.11(a)(1) and (a)(1)(4)(D), as amended.
In March, we reported on the increasing attention that federal and state legislatures, as well as the EEOC, were paying to employers’ use of employee credit checks in employment decisions. At the time of posting, four states had laws regulating employer use of credit history data and fourteen additional states were considering similar measures. Earlier this month, Connecticut passed Public Act No. 11-223 regulating employer use of credit reports.
A commonly used pre-employment screening method–conducting credit checks–has drawn increased scrutiny in recent months. Legislatures at the state and federal levels are considering bills that would limit employer use of credit checks. Moreover, two recently-filed lawsuits, one of which was filed by the EEOC, seek to challenge the use of pre-employment credit checks in hiring decisions.
Only four states–Hawaii, Illinois, Oregon, and Washington–currently have laws regulating employer use of credit history data. Sparked by the downturn in the economy, fourteen additional states–California, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont–are considering similar measures.