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.
In a time when workplace violence seems to be on the rise, many companies have adopted a strict no tolerance policy even for conduct outside the workplace. In California, however, employers need to be cognizant of the protections afforded individuals that may make such terminations riskier than the company may expect. One employer got just such a reminder last week when a California jury returned an $18M verdict against it for terminating an employee after he was arrested for threatening his girlfriend outside of the workplace.
In EEOC v. McLane Co., Inc., the Ninth Circuit recently held that the EEOC has broad subpoena powers to obtain nationwide private personnel information, including social security numbers (“SSNs”), in connection with its investigation of a sex discrimination charge.
Damiana Ochoa, a former employee of a McLane subsidiary in Arizona, filed a charge with the EEOC alleging sex discrimination (based on pregnancy), claiming that when she tried to return to work after taking maternity leave, the company informed her that she could not return to work until she passed a physical capability strength test. Ochoa alleged that the company requires all new employees and all employees returning from medical leave to take the test and acknowledged that she failed this test three times. Based on her failure to pass the test, the company terminated Ochoa’s employment.