Cardoza Law Corporation Employer Looking at a Background Check on a Potential EmployeeDid you miss out on a job opportunity because of a background check? Did you get a letter from the prospective employer explaining why? You probably didn’t. That’s because most employers fail to comply with this law. They often aren’t held accountable for their actions, either, because job applicants don’t know they are entitled to this notification. Guess what? Now YOU know—so what can you do about it?

Let’s Look at Starbucks’ Problem

You either love ’em, or you hate ’em, but either way, when a company the size of Starbucks is taken to task for violating applicants’ rights, people pay attention. That’s exactly what happened in the spring of 2019 when a couple of class action lawsuits were combined and prepared for settlement by the coffee giant. In both cases, Starbucks used the background check service Accurate Background. To see a perfect illustration of your rights as a job applicant, take a look at these claims:

  • The first case was filed in Washington State in 2016. Jonathan Rosario was turned down for a job at a Starbucks in Colorado because of criminal convictions found during his background check. They did not provide him with a copy of his background report, and Jonathan discovered that his adoptive brother had stolen his identity, and the criminal history was his brother’s. Jonathan managed to get the information corrected with Accurate Background and sent the new report to Starbucks, but they still refused to hire him.
  • The second case was filed in Atlanta in 2017 by a former employee of Starbucks, who was re-applying to work at a new location. Accurate Background mixed up Kevin Wills’ file with that of Kevin Willis, who had criminal convictions, and Starbucks rejected his application. Because Starbucks failed to provide the real Kevin with a copy of his background report and a description of his rights, he sued for damages.

Both of these claims were filed as class actions involving 8,100 people. A judge combined them in April of 2019 in preparation for settlement. Starbucks hires over 100,000 workers across the country each year, so holding them responsible for violating applicants’ right could significantly impact the workforce moving forward.

How Does This Affect You?

Here’s the deal. If an employer rejects you because of information on your background check and fails to send you a copy of the report, they are violating the law. This is true even if there is accurate negative information in your history. If Starbucks or any other employer has done this, you need to talk to an experienced attorney to find out if you may be owed damages. Contact me online or call my office directly at 855.982.2400 to learn more.


Michael F. Cardoza, Esq.
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U.S. Marine & Consumer Financial Protection Attorney helping victims of ID theft and Credit Reporting errors.