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Class Action: Hertz Violated Federal Law When Denying Job Applicant

Jun 10, 2015 / Media Coverage / Top Class Actions — Courtney Coren

The Hertz Corporation was hit with a class action lawsuit in a California federal court, alleging that it violated federal law by improperly using consumer reports to deny employment to job applicants.

Plaintiff Peter Lee of California says in his Hertz class action lawsuit that he applied for a job with Hertz’s Dollar/Thrifty subsidiary at the San Francisco International Airport in May 2014, while he was working for a competitor in a similar position.

Lee explains that he was arrested in June 2012 and charged with felony possession of a controlled substance for sale in connection with a gang, but that when he applied for the job with Hertz that the charges were still pending.

The California man says that he was offered the job with Hertz at the end of the interview in early May, but that the application materials would still need to be processed. He went through the process in May, even passing Hertz’s mandatory drug screening.

But he was also asked to complete “the online application addendum” by the field recruiter. At the same time, he was also sent information about when he would begin his new job, and he was told that his start date was June 9, 2014.

When he received this information, he notified his previous employer that he would be resigning, effective June 9.

While Hertz was processing Lee’s application during this time, the car rental company received a consumer report from Sterling Infosystems, Inc., “which included information regarding the June 2012 criminal charges pending against Mr. Lee.”

Sterling is also a named defendant in the FCRA class action lawsuit against Hertz.

Lee received a phone call on June 3 from the field recruiter informing him that due to his criminal history, that was discovered through the background check performed by Sterling, Hertz would not be able to hire him. The field recruiter said there was nothing she could do about it because it was “Hertz policy.”

Lee alleges in his Hertz class action lawsuit that the car rental company violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) because “at no point during the processing of his employment application did Hertz provide Mr. Lee with a clear and conspicuous disclosure in the form of a written document that consisted solely of the disclosure, that it may obtain a consumer report for employment purposes.”

Lee requested a copy of the background check. He was sent a copy of the background check on June 3, and on June 4 “Sterling sent to Mr. Lee by regular mail an updated letter that was inaccurately entitled ‘Pre-Adverse Action Notice,’ and which bore Hertz corporate logo,” the Hertz FCRA class action lawsuit says.

“The FCRA requires that ‘before taking any adverse action based in whole or in part on [a consumer report],’ the employer taking adverse action must provide ‘the consumer to whom the report relates’ with . . . a copy of the report and a description in writing of the rights of the consumer.”

According to the Hertz class action lawsuit: “Hertz and Sterling have routinely and systematically failed to provide plaintiff and other job applicants with a copy of their consumer reports prior to taking adverse actions against them.”

“Despite defendants’ awareness of their legal obligations, defendants have acted consciously in breaching their known duties and depriving plaintiff and other job applicants of their rights under the FCRA,” it adds.

Lee is represented by Jahan C. Sagafi and Katrina L. Eiland of Outten & Golden LLP and Meredith Desautels and Stephanie Funt of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights for the San Francisco Bay Area.

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The Hertz FCRA Class Action Lawsuit is Lee v. The Hertz Corporation et al., Case No. 3:15-cv-02545, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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