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Canon INC. Settles Unlawful Background Check Lawsuit

In 2012, Canon date entry worker, Anya McPherson, was terminated from the company after information from a background check reached the company. She had been on the job for 4 days when the company cited a felony from over a decade prior as the reason for her termination.

Shortly after her termination, McPherson and her attorneys filed a class-action lawsuit in New Jersey against the technology mogul for conducting illegal background checks on current and prospective employees. McPherson, specifically, had no opportunity to explain that her 12-year-old felony charge was up for expungement. Additionally, she was not given a copy of the background check, which may violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Without admitting liability, Canon offered McPherson an unreported settlement 2 years later. Especially now with “ban the box” legislation well underway in many states, background checks are a hot topic.

As a prospective or current employee, make sure the employer is no longer using the “box”—i.e. the checkbox on employment applications (“Have you ever been convicted of a crime?). Also, the company and/or employer must get an executed legal release form and inform an applicant of their rights, including obtaining a copy of the report and any communication from the check that resulted in an adverse action against the applicant.

Sources: TopClassActions.com; Forbes.com

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