SEPTA Background Check Discrimination

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Active
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Outten & Golden LLP and our co-counsel, Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Public Interest Law Center, and Willig, Williams & Davidson, represent job applicants who filed a class action lawsuit on April 27, 2016, in federal court in Philadelphia.  The suit charges that the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (“SEPTA”) violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to properly inform job applicants that it was running a background check and of the results of the background check, and violated Pennsylvania’s Criminal History Record Information Act by disqualifying job applicants with unrelated convictions from employment at SEPTA.  The Plaintiffs seek to represent a class of job applicants denied employment at SEPTA because of their criminal records.

On September 10, 2018, the Third Circuit reversed the district court’s ruling that SEPTA’s alleged failure to provide Plaintiffs with copies of their background check reports did not cause them concrete harm—allowing the case to go forward in federal court.  The Third Circuit explained that this requirement in the FCRA allows an applicant “to ensure that the report is true, and may also enable [the applicant] to advocate for it to be used fairly—such as by explaining why true but negative information is irrelevant to his fitness for the job.” This was “‘the very harm that Congress sought to prevent, arising from prototypical conduct’ proscribed by the FCRA.”

The case is Long v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, No. 16 Civ. 1991 (PBT) (E.D. Pa.).                                                                                                                                  

People interested in the lawsuit may provide information by visiting http://www.septaconvictiondiscrimination.com. They can also contact Ossai Miazad, Christopher M. McNerney, or Cheryl-Lyn Bentley at (212) 245-1000 for more information.