Delta To Pay $2.3Million For An FCRA Lawsuit​

July 30, 2019
The airline was hit with a class action suit that consisted of around 44,100 members.
Backgrounds Online | July 30, 2019


The airline was hit with a class-action suit that consisted of around 44,100 members.

About The Lawsuit

A class-action lawsuit against Delta Air Lines alleged the employer did not provide compliant disclosure and authorization documents to job seekers. These documents inform the recipient that an employer wishes to run a background check on them and request written authorization. They are mandated by a federal law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

This case is known as Schofield v. Delta Air Lines, Inc. According to the lawsuit, the forms provided by Delta were unclear and contained unnecessary information. These accusations represent alleged violations of FCRA laws.

FCRA Compliant Disclosures

The FCRA stipulates that disclosure and authorization documents must be clear and unambiguous. They may not contain any additional content or confusing language. These documents must be provided to and be signed by job seekers or employees before a background check can be run.

Many employers add liability waivers, job requirements and other information on these forms. Having any unclear or additional text could lead to a class action suit like the one filed against Delta. We see numerous lawsuits because of this each year.

If a background check will include information about the subject’s reputation, characteristics or related factors, then an investigative consumer report is required. In this case, a different type of disclosure is used. That form explains what type of information may be included in the background check report. It’s also important to note that California has specific requirements for disclosures.

Delta Files For A Summary Judgment

The case against Delta was heard at the San Francisco Superior Court. Afterwards, the employer requested a summary judgment on their behalf. Their reasoning was the allegations against them should be cleared due to a statute of limitations. This case began more than two years after the background screening of these plaintiffs occurred.

Delta’s motion was not opposed and the airline reached a settlement. The total amount the airline will pay is $2.3 million. About 25 - 33% will go to the plaintiff’s counsel and the rest will be divided between the 44,100 or so class action members.

What Employers Should Know

Every employer should be aware of federal regulations regarding the background screening process. Before running a background check, an employer must provide the applicant, employee, volunteer or contractor with standalone disclosure and authorization documents. As many employers have learned the hard way, these documents must be clear and not contain any content other than what is needed to disclose the intent to run a background check and request consent.

Backgrounds Online provides sample disclosure and authorization documents for our clients. They are concise and do not include any unnecessary language. Login to your account to download them and customize as needed.

When you are ready to run compliant background checks for your organization, please contact us. We are available Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.