Chipotle Faces Employment Class Action over FCRA Disclosure

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San Francisco, CA: Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc, is facing a class action lawsuit alleging the restaurant chain violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by obtaining employment background checks after burying the required disclosure in its application materials. Filed by a job applicant, named plaintiff Lorena Mejia, the nationwide lawsuit asserts Mejia filled out a standard Chipotle application that contained a provision allowing the company to conduct a background check. However, the forms failed to make clear that the application contained authorization for Chipotle to perform background checks, in violation of the FCRA' standard. Specifically, the complaint states that the background-check disclosure was surrounded by potentially distracting language such as a provision for at-will employment.

"Under the FCRA, it is unlawful to procure or cause to be procured, a consumer report or investigative consumer report for employment purposes, unless the disclosure is made in a document that consists solely of the disclosure and the consumer has authorized in writing the procurement of the report,"the complaint states.

Further, the lawsuit contends that employers have been warned by the Federal Trade Commission stating that applicants are entitled to receive the disclosure as a separate document, not embedded into an employment application.

Mejia asserts that Chipotle failed to provide her a written summary of her FCRA rights, despite a provision of the statute requiring Chipotle to do so. Additionally, the company violated California privacy laws because it didn't offer applicants a box to check as an indication that they wanted to receive copies of their reports, the complaint states.

The plaintiff is seeking to represent a nationwide class of Chipotle applicants seeking damages under the FCRA, as well as a subclass of California applicants bringing state-law claims. Mejia is represented by Samuel Wong, Kashif Haque and Sam Kim of Aegis Law Firm PC. The case is Mejia v. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. et al., case number 5:15-cv-01911, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

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Last updated October 7 2015

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