SEPTA Conviction Discrimination Lawsuit
On April 27, 2016, Outten & Golden, LLP, Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Public Interest Law Center, and Willig, Williams & Davidson filed a proposed class action lawsuit on behalf of Frank Long and other job applicants similarly impacted by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (“SEPTA”) criminal background check policies and practices. Plaintiffs allege that SEPTA violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) by failing to properly inform job applicants that it was requesting to run background checks and by failing to provide job applicants with copies of those background checks and a statement of their rights under the FCRA before denying them employment. Plaintiffs also allege that SEPTA violated Pennsylvania’s Criminal History Record Information Act by disqualifying job applicants with unrelated convictions from employment at SEPTA.
Individuals who applied to work for SEPTA and were denied employment because of their criminal records since 2014 may be eligible to participate in the lawsuit.
- Did you apply to work for SEPTA?
- Were you denied employment, at least in part, because of your criminal history and/or the results of a background check?
If the answer to these questions is “yes”, we’d like to talk to you. Contact us here.
If you have applied or tried to apply to work for SEPTA and were denied based on criminal history we would like to talk to you. If you are willing to share information with us, or for more information about the lawsuit, please complete the contact us form at the bottom of this page, and a member of Outten & Golden’s legal team will contact you. You can also call us at (212) 245-1000.
On April 27, 2016, a Plaintiff Frank Long filed a class action lawsuit alleging that SEPTA violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) by failing to properly inform job applicants that it was requesting to run a background check. Plaintiff Long also alleged that SEPTAviolated Pennsylvania’s Criminal History Record Information Act by disqualifying job applicants with unrelated convictions from employment at SEPTA.
On May 26, 2016, Plaintiff Long amended the complaint and added two more named Plaintiffs, Joseph Shipley and Michael White. The amended complaint added class claims that SEPTA also violated the FCRA by failing to provide job applicants with notices required under the FCRA before taking adverse actions against them.
On September 10, 2018, the Third Circuit reversed the district court’s ruling that SEPTA’s alleged failure to provide Plaintiffs with copies of their background check reports did not cause them concrete harm—allowing the case to go forward in federal court. The Third Circuit explained that this requirement in the FCRA allows an applicant “to ensure that the report is true, and may also enable [the applicant] to advocate for it to be used fairly—such as by explaining why true but negative information is irrelevant to his fitness for the job.” This was “‘the very harm that Congress sought to prevent, arising from prototypical conduct’ proscribed by the FCRA.”
For the full amended complaint in this lawsuit, click here.