On November 22nd, a California federal court rejected Petco’s motion to dismiss a class-action suit that accuses Petco of not disclosing plans to conduct background checks on potential employees.
According to the court, the Plaintiffs suffered sufficient concrete injury for the case to continue. The Plaintiffs allege that Petco knew it was violating the FCRA when it buried information in pages of paperwork, instead of providing a separate document disclosing the background check.
According to the lawsuit, the FCRA requires that “an employer may not procure a consumer report concerning a job applicant or employee unless a ‘clear and conspicuous’ disclosure is made in a stand-alone document that ‘consists solely of the disclosure’ informing the applicant or employee that a report may be obtained for employment purposes.”
The complaint alleges that instead of a “clear and conspicuous” and separate disclosure, Petco has a text box in the middle of its online application “which appears on a screen with small font wording in the middle that the applicant scrolls through by dragging a scrollbar on the right hand side” called the Background Check Disclosure.
The class action states that if printed out, the disclosure would take up five pages, and which supposedly authorized Petco to conduct regular consumer reports of its applicants and employees. This disclosure does not meet federal requirements, the class action asserts.
In addition, the lawsuit claims that if an employer makes an “adverse decision” based on something in a credit report, they have to notify the consumer of that fact. The complaint alleges that Petco fails to do this.
Feist et al. v. Petco Animal Supplies Inc. et al., case number 3:16-cv-01369, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California