Legislative Alert - October 10, 2015: Safe Harbor Invalid, Chipotle FCRA Suit

Safe harbour invalid

Screening News Update – October 9, 2015

  • Safe Harbor Invalid?
  • Kohl's FCRA Suit Update
  • Class Action Suit for Chipotle?
  • E-Verify Extended... For Now



Safe Harbor Invalid?

The European Court of Justice - the equivalent to our Supreme Court - has struck down the 15-year-old Safe Harbor Agreement calling it “invalid.” This ruling leaves thousands of American companies in a legal limbo. An updated version of the agreement was supposed to be finished last month, but now, the court’s decision means companies like Apple, Amazon and even Facebook might not be able to transfer European citizens’ personal data freely into the United States.

The ruling affects any organization with international operations. Meanwhile, talks on the new deal are stalled. Still, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce has hope that the new Safe Harbor agreement will survive. Any new agreement will give the EU more power to protect the flow of personal information.

Judge Says Claim "Makes No Sense"

As with so many of the FCRA cases making the rounds these days, the plaintiffs in a proposed class action suit against Kohl’s Department Stores allege the disclosure for an employee credit report used by the retail giant was faulty because it was combined with the rest of the employment application. They argue that the disclosure did not stand alone, as required by the law, but rather was a part of the one “employment packet.”

A California federal judge says the claim “makes no sense whatsoever.” Judge Joseph Spero found that the forms in question were, in fact, two separate documents with different titles and different form codes. The judge also says, while the Consent and Disclosure forms did contain information such as the applicant’s identifying information and state specific items required by California, Minnesota and Oklahoma, all of those details are allowed under the FCRA because they are all used to show that the consumer report would only be used for employment purposes. Even with the dismissal, this case is not quite over. The court is allowing the plaintiff to try again.

Another Class Action Suit

Was the consent form that Chipotle job applicants had to sign for a pre-employment background check rolled up with lots of other stuff like one of their famous burritos? Yet again, plaintiffs are claiming that the disclosure document did not stand alone, and that the authorization was buried in a general consent agreement. The named plaintiff also claims she was not given the required “Summary of your Rights under the FCRA.”

E-Verify Extended... For Now

The popular E-Verify system that allows employers to electronically verify a new hire’s work authorization was set to expire on September 30th, but it was saved by the bell… so to speak. A stop-gap measure signed by the president to prevent a government shutdown also made sure the program is funded until December 11th After that, the program’s future is unknown. Congress is still working to reauthorize it for the next 3 to 5 years.

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Jennifer Gladstone

Posted By: Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.