Legislative Alert - February 26, 2016: Dave & Buster's Gets Whacked for FCRA
Screening News Update
- NJ Proposes Medical Marijuana Law
- Dave & Buster's Faces FCRA Lawsuit
- Failing Grades for Teacher Background Checks
- Beefing Up Safety for Military Children
New Jersey Proposes Law to Protect Jobs of Medical Marijuana Users
The New Jersey Legislature is taking steps to help protect medical marijuana users from losing their jobs. Many patients have been fired for failing mandatory company drug tests, even though they only use the drug during their off hours. Several have taken their employers to court. Up until now the courts have all ruled in the employer’s favor because marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
But now, New Jersey lawmakers hope to join a growing list of states that offer some protection to these patients. The legislation basically says failing a drug test is not enough. If someone is using the drug legally their employer has to clearly prove that using medical marijuana impairs their ability to perform their job. Otherwise, Assembly Bill 2482 says it would be unlawful to take adverse action against them.
Nine other states and the District of Columbia have already passed similar laws.
Dave & Buster’s Faces FCRA Lawsuit
Dave & Buster’s is the latest household name to be hauled into court to face allegations that it misused background screening information to make employment decisions. The named plaintiff in the proposed class action lawsuit is Joseph Alvarez. He claims he was offered a job as a cook last August, but says two days later the offer was rescinded because of information that came back on his background check. Alvarez was never given a copy of the report, a copy of his rights, or the chance to correct any misinformation -- as required by the FCRA. The suit claims Dave & Buster’s uses background checks on new hires and current employees to not only hire and fire, but to promote or change employees' hours as well, while never sharing the information with the applicant or employee. The class action has not yet been approved.
School Districts Get Failing Grade for Teacher Background Checks
The USA Today Network conducted an investigation into how the states vet their teachers, and more than 20 of them got Ds and Fs. The investigation looked at millions of records and found hundreds of cases where teachers were disciplined for everything from aggressively shaking a young child to soliciting sex. They found teachers were easily getting new licenses by simply crossing state lines. There is a privately-run, non-profit database for tracking teacher misconduct, but at least 9,000 names were missing -- even though they had been disciplined by their school districts.
Beefing Up Safety for Military Children
Senators Richard Burr and Barbara Boxer have introduced the Military Child Care Protection Act of 2016 to improve the standards for child care centers on military bases by requiring them to conduct the same level of background screening as those in the private sector that receive federal funding. Currently the background checks for childcare professionals on military bases is severely lacking and is being blamed for the death of a 4-month old who was in daycare at Fort Bragg. The Act would prohibit individuals who have been convicted of seven severe charges including murder, child abuse, child pornography and even spousal abuse from getting work caring for our soldiers’ children.