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“Cheap” alternative to standard consumer reporting agency lands restaurant in hot water

Waffle House must let a jury decide if the restaurant’s procedure of using of paid-search website for public record information to run background checks on applicants without properly notifying them ran afoul of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

The decision comes after a Florida federal judge refused to toss the proposed class action, ruling that there are facts in dispute that belong before a jury, according to Law360.com.

The lead plaintiff in the case against the restaurant chain claims that he was denied a job after Waffle House performed a background check on him using PublicData.com—a website that offers searches of public record databases for a fee. Waffle House then allegedly failed to inform the plaintiff that he would not be hired, failed to provide him with a copy of the report the restaurant obtained on him and did not provide him with information about the consumer reporting agency the restaurant used to procure the report, as required by the FCRA.

The plaintiff claims that the website utilized by Waffle House to conduct background checks on applicants was a “fast cheap alternative to the standard consumer reporting agencies,” adding further that by using information from PublicData.com to make employment decisions—despite the site’s claims that it is not a consumer reporting agency—the restaurant knew it was “playing fast and loose with the FCRA.”

Source: Law360.com, 6/13/2016

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