Syed v. M-I, LLC

Prospective employer violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by including a release of claims in the same document as the statutorily required notice that it might obtain a credit report on the applicant for employment purposes.  Under 15 USC 1681b(b)(2)(A), a prospective employer may obtain a credit report on a job applicant only if the prospective employer gives the applicant a clear, conspicuous written disclosure that it may obtain a credit report for employment purposes, and the applicant has signed the disclosure form agreeing to allow the prospective employer to obtain the report.  The statute also specifies that the document must “consist solely of the disclosure.”  Here, the prospective employer also included in the document containing the disclosure a release of any claims arising from its use of the credit report or information it revealed.  This decision holds that the inclusion of that additional provision violated the “consists solely of” requirement of the statute and that, given the statute’s clarity, the violation was willful, triggering liability for statutory damages.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Wardlaw, J.); January 20, 2017; 2017 WL 242559



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