Publix, an employee-owned Whole Foods-esque grocery store from Florida, has agreed to pay out $6.8 million in a class action lawsuit to its employees for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Did Publix break the law? We report, you decide:
The FCRA requires this: "a person may not procure a consumer report . . . for employment purposes with respect to any consumer, unless a clear and conspicuous disclosure has been made in writing to the consumer at any time before the report is procured or caused to be procured, in a document that consists solely of the disclosure, that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes." 15 USC 1681b.
Publix, which pulls potential employees' credit reports during the hiring process, (used to) include the following sentence in the middle of their application, and no other reference to credit reports or the FCRA: "I release Publix Super Markets, Inc., its employees, its authorized agents and representatives from any liability in connection with any decisions made concerning my employment based on information reported."
This violation seems pretty clear cut, and actually sort of insidious. Instead of complying with the law, Publix attempted to have its employees release any potential lawsuits in their application. Which apparently didn't work.
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