Unlawful screening of job applicants seeking employment at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn violates federal and state law, according to a federal-court class action lawsuit filed by Outten & Golden LLP and the nonprofit organization Youth Represent.
Filed in federal court in the Eastern District of New York, the lawsuit alleges that Barclays used “flawed and discriminatory criminal history screening policies and practices” to deny employment opportunities to otherwise qualified job applicants. The defendants are Barclays Events Center, LLC, doing business as Barclays Center, Levy Restaurants, Inc., and Professional Sports Catering LLC.
The lawsuit alleges violations of federal and state laws regulating the use of criminal history screening policies and practices – and is a first of its kind class action suit to challenge an employer’s violation of New York City’s recently enacted “Ban the Box” legislation – the Fair Chance Act.
The named plaintiff, Felipe Kelly, applied for a job in August 2016 to work for a restaurant operated by Levy Restaurants and/or Professional Sports Catering LLC at Barclays. Mr. Kelly alleges Barclays refused to hire him after subjecting him to a criminal background check. Defendants never provided Mr. Kelly with the information they used to deny him employment, and never provided him with the “Fair Chance Notice” that employers are now required to provide applicants under New York City law, the lawsuit alleges.
According to the lawsuit, “Because Defendants never provided Mr. Kelly with crucial information regarding his denial of employment, Mr. Kelly was unaware of what information was being reported on him, unable to review the information reported about him for accuracy and completeness, contextualize even true information, review Defendants’ arguments (if any) for why they believed his conviction barred him from employment, and/or explain why he was nonetheless entitled to employment, including any evidence of rehabilitation and good conduct.”
Mr. Kelly, a resident of Bronx County, N.Y., is represented by Ossai Miazad, Lewis M. Steel and Christopher M. McNerney of Outten & Golden LLP, and Michael C. Pope and Eric Eingold of Youth Represent.
Outten & Golden LLP and Youth Represent will seek to have the case certified as a class action that covers proposed classes of affected job applicants since Oct. 27, 2015.
Christopher M. McNerney, of Outten & Golden LLP, said, “As a matter of basic fairness, federal and New York state laws require that job applicants with criminal histories be provided with the same criminal history information relied on by the prospective employer so that they might evaluate that information, ensure it is accurate, and even if it is accurate explain why they nonetheless are qualified for employment This legal framework is an essential aspect of reentering society for individuals with criminal records.”
Michael C. Pope, of Youth Represent, said, “State and federal law are clear: job applicants with criminal histories are entitled to be advised of and review the source and content of background checks. Job applicants like Mr. Kelly and many others are entitled to provide information regarding the criminal history – including the circumstances of their criminal history and their rehabilitation and good conduct.”
The case is “Felipe Kelly, et al., v. Barclays Event Center, et al.,” Class Action Complaint No. 1:17-cv-04600 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Contacts: Ossai Miazad and Christopher M. McNerney, Outten & Golden LLP, 212.245.1000, and Michael C. Pope, Youth Represent, 646.759.8080.