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Class-action Suit Filed Against GEO Group for Violation of Job Applicants’ Rights

GEO Group and Accurate Background, Inc. have been sued in federal court in New York for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when conducting criminal background checks on GEO job applicants. The suit, filed on October 30, 2015, seeks class-action status.

The FCRA requires employers taking an “adverse action” against a job applicant based on a background check to provide the applicant with a “pre-adverse action” notice that includes a copy of the report and a summary of their rights under the FCRA.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Eric Keels, who was later joined by co-plaintiff Sandra Inman, alleged GEO Group and Accurate Background failed to comply with the FCRA’s requirements before denying employment to prospective GEO job applicants. Accurate Background also allegedly failed to notify applicants it was providing GEO with background screening reports and did not follow procedures to ensure the accuracy and completeness of those reports.

Keels had a job offer from GEO Group, the nation’s second-largest for-profit prison company, but the offer was rescinded following a background screening. “I’m hoping to help ensure that GEO Group and Accurate Background, Inc., follow the law so that people who want to come work for GEO Group have a fair chance,” stated Keels. He is represented by Outten & Golden, LLP attorneys Ossai Miazad, Lewis M. Steel, Adam T. Klein and Christopher M. McNerney.

“The FCRA provides important protections for employees and job seekers. Companies must comply with strict requirements before using background check information for employment purposes,” said Miazad. “GEO Group’s practice of refusing to hire applicants without giving them a chance to review, let alone dispute or provide more information about their background check results, deprives job seekers of their rights.”

The plaintiffs agreed to dismiss their claims against Accurate Background in July 2016, while a class-action settlement with GEO Group was in the process of being finalized as of late September 2016. See: Keels v. The GEO Group, Inc., U.S.D.C. (E.D. NY), Case No. 1:15-cv-06261-CBA-SMG.  

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