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Outten & Golden LLP: NAACP Beats Back Employers’ Attempt to Escape Litigation in Discrimination Class Action

Jul 25, 2016 / Press Release / outtengolden.com — Outten & Golden LLP

A New York state court ruled that information management giants NTT Data, Inc. and Philips Electronics North America Corp. will remain in a class action lawsuit alleging that major job search websites enable employers to illegally post job listings in New York City with blanket bans on applicants with felony convictions, Outten & Golden LLP and co-counsel said today.

Filed in June 2015, the class action brought by 14 New York metropolitan area branches of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Inc. (NAACP) targets employers that post allegedly illegal job listings with the support of job search engines including Monster Worldwide, Inc., which owns Monster.com, ZipRecruiter, Inc., which owns ZipRecruiter.com, and Indeed, Inc., which owns Indeed.com.

New York state and city laws forbid employers from denying employment to job applicants with criminal records without evaluating eight factors set forth in Article 23-A of the New York State Corrections Law. The lawsuit seeks injunctive and declaratory relief forbidding the defendant employers from posting and disseminating the illegal listings on job search websites.

In ruling against NTT Data, Inc. and Philips Electronics North America Corp., the Hon. Manuel J. Mendez ruled again that the NAACP has legal standing – on behalf of African American residents of the City of New York that are banned from employment by the defendant class because they have felony convictions – and is a proper plaintiff to bring suit. The Court also found that Plaintiff’s claims were not moot because of the policy to “rule on issues of great public significant which are likely to recur” and the worry that the employers could “have inspired other entities to similarly discriminate.” In April, the Court denied Monster’s, ZipRecruiter’s, and Indeed’s similar request to be dismissed from the lawsuit.

Recently, Plaintiffs reached a settlement agreement with defendants Recall Holdings Ltd. and Recall Total Information Management, Inc., another major information management group of companies, on behalf of a potential class of defendant employers, and filed for preliminary approval of the agreement. 

The NAACP is represented by Outten & Golden LLP, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and James I. Meyerson, of New York.

Outten & Golden partner Ossai Miazad said, “We hope that the court’s ruling will reaffirm that employers cannot use technical procedural arguments to do away with civil rights cases of great public significance. Along with the NAACP, our goal is to stop all New York City-area employers from using online recruiting sites that violate the New York City Human Rights Law and the Fair Chance Act.We are confident this ruling moves us one step closer to achieving justice.”

The lawsuit is “NAACP New York State Conference Metropolitan Council of Branches v. Philips Electronics North America Corp., et al.,” Index No. 156382/2015 in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County. More information about the litigation can be found here.

Job applicants who wish to report their experiences with blanket felony bans in employment applications can email convictionjustice@outtengolden.com.

Contacts: Ossai Miazad and Christopher M. McNerney, Outten & Golden LLP, 212.245.1000, convictionjustice@outtengolden.com.

About Outten & Golden LLP

With offices in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, Outten & Golden LLP represents individuals, including employees, executives, partners, professionals and other talent, in all industries, in all professions, and at all employment levels. As advocates for workplace fairness, the firm’s attorneys in nine practice groups advise and represent clients in matters involving former, current, and potential future employers and partnerships. O&G also represents groups of employees, such as executive teams in transition, and represents employees in class and collective actions based on discrimination, wage-and-hour, and WARN Act violations. The firm’s international practice reaches across borders to represent and protect multinational employees, executives, and professionals.

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