Hertz are being sued by civil rights lawyers along with it’s background checks provider. They are accused of ‘blind siding’ job seeking applicants by referring to the applicants criminal records and then withdrawing or withholding offers of employment without allowing prospective applicants to challenge the records.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act which is a federal law dictates that those private employers require the written consent of applicants prior to checking criminal records and/or credit history. The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco (U.S. District Court). As and when erroneous information comes to light employers must give the applicant an opportunity to correct errors and put things right.

The suit confirms that a substantial number of reports (criminal background) contain inaccurate, incomplete, improper and/or misleading data that can prejudice an applicant. It is also claimed Hertz routinely rejects applicants on the strength of background checks never seen by the applicant.

The plaintiff;s lawyer said that applicants are deprived of their rights. She is accompanied in the suit by the Committee for Civil Rights (San Francisco Bay), they have long argued that the use of criminal records by employers harms minority and poor job applicants.

Some states already prohibit employers seeking information from applicants with respect to criminal records. Last year California brought in a ban for local and state government jobs last year. Thereafter San Francisco expanded the ban to apply to private companies with over twenty employees. Subject to federal law restrictions both the laws make provisions for full background checks post initial interview.

Hertz operates at around 1,700 airports in the U.S. The suit is being filed as a national class action. Lawyers claim Peter Lee was employed with another car hire company at San Francisco’s international airport. He got a job offer from the airport’s Dollar/Thrifty rental site in May 2014. He passed the drugs test following initial interview got offered a job and therefore quit his existing employment.

Six days prior to commencement Hertz withdrew the job offer in light of information weaned from the criminal background check. In June 2012 charges against Lee were for possessing drugs for sale. However those charges were still pending in June 2012. Lee’s legal team declined to elaborate on the final outcome.

Neither Hertz or its background checks contractor (Sterling Infosystems) had advised Lee of the checks. Nor did they obtain his consent or allow him an opportunity to comment on the records, as required by law. Lee was able to retain employment in his previous role.

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