04 Jan STARBUCKS CLASS ACTION: FAULTY BACKGROUND CHECK COST APPLICANT A JOB
A Colorado man who was denied a job based on a Starbucks background check is suing the coffeehouse chain for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Plaintiff Jonathan Santiago Rosario says defendant Starbucks Corp. denied him a job based on inaccurate results of a background check, without giving him a proper chance to correct those results.
In doing so, he claims, Starbucks violated provisions of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA.
Rosario says he applied for a Starbucks job in Castle Rock, Colo. in March 2016. After interviewing Rosario, the company requested a background check from Accurate Background Inc.
That background check listed criminal felony and misdemeanor records from counties in Pennsylvania, some of which involved violent crime and drug-related charges. The report showed Accurate Background’s determination that Rosario was not eligible for employment at Starbucks.
Starbucks then sent Rosario a letter dated April 20 informing him that the results of his Starbucks background check did not meet the company’s requirements. But by the time Rosario received the letter, he claims, Starbucks had already removed him from consideration for employment.
Rosario says the supposed criminal history that showed up in his Starbucks background check is inaccurate and false. He believes those entries resulted from identity theft. In fact, he says, he has never even been to Pennsylvania.
In May, Rosario challenged the inaccurate Starbucks background check by following Accurate Background’s dispute procedures. Accurate Background corrected the errors by May 19, and a representative confirmed to Rosario that a corrected report had been forwarded to Starbucks.
Rosario then made several calls to Starbucks in an attempt to revive his job application, he says. Nevertheless, the company declined to revisit its decision to deny him a job.
By failing to give Rosario a meaningful opportunity to dispute the contents of his Starbucks background check, he claims, Starbucks violated the pre-adverse action notification requirements in the FCRA.
The FCRA governs the use of “consumer reports,” like the Starbucks background check at issue here, that are used to make employment decisions. The law requires that before an adverse decision is made, the job applicant must get a copy of the report and a meaningful chance to dispute and correct its contents.
Rosario proposes to represent a nationwide plaintiff Class that would include U.S. persons who applied for a job at Starbucks and who were the subject of a Starbucks background check report on which the company based an adverse employment decision, but who did not receive a timely copy of that report or the FCRA summary of rights.
He seeks an award of actual, statutory and punitive damages for himself and the plaintiff Class and reimbursement of court costs and attorneys’ fees, all with pre- and post-judgment interest.
The plaintiff is represented by attorneys Beth E. Terrell and Erika L. Nusser of Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC and James A. Francis, John Soumilas and Lauren KW Brennan of Francis & Mailman PC.
The Starbucks Employee Background Check Class Action Lawsuit is Jonathan Rosario v. Starbucks Corp., Case No. 2:16-cv-01951, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.