Kevin Wills applied for a job with a Starbucks store in Buford, Georgia and as a precondition of employment a background check was conducted.
In an all too familiar scenario, he was denied a job based on a faulty background report. The background screening company reported that he had been twice convicted of domestic violence. Several glaring problems escaped the eye of both the background screening company and Starbucks. First the criminal report pertained to a Kevin Willis, not Kevin Wills. Second, Willis was from Minnesota and not Georgia. The report did not report whether the dates of birth and other data were in agreement with both individuals which raises other problems as well.
Based on the bogus report, Kevin Wills was telephonically advised that he would not be hired based on the investigative background report. It was Starbucks standing procedure not to supply the applicant with a “pre-adverse” letter including the investigative report. This practice is a clear and flagrant violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Federal law that regulates background screening. The purpose of the regulation is to give the applicant an opportunity to dispute any inaccurate information prior to having any adverse action taken against them.
According to Starbucks, it operates over 25,000 stores worldwide so the class of plaintiffs could be enormous. That translates into a potential multi-million-dollar payday because every applicant violation performed makes the defendant liable for damages of $1,000 plus punitive damages in an amount to be determined by the jury.
It’s amazing how failure to follow simple rules makes corporations liable for multi-million dollar judgements.