Online Retailer and Its Background Check Provider Facing Lawsuit

11/04/2022 09:42 AM By Kayla Florence

A once prospective employee of America’s most commodified e-commerce provider, Miguel Lerma, has proposed a class action lawsuit against the online retailer and its background screening provider. Lerma claims Amazon and its background screening provider infringed upon the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and state law by using a sex offender website to perform background checks on prospective employees. 

Lerma alleges a March 2022 job offer at an Amazon Fresh grocery store was rescinded after information found on the Megan’s Law website including felony sex offenses and five years in prison from 2013 was reported to the employer. According to the filed complaint, the plaintiff had cleared a background check before this one. 

Megan’s Law, enacted in 1996, is a federal law that mandates public information regarding registered sex offenders in response to the murder of a young girl. Its corresponding website includes a name search and a map search where citizens can search for sex offenders “so that members of the public can better protect themselves and their families.” Though Megan’s Law supports the use of the website “to protect a person at risk”, the site is not to be used to deny jobs to applicants whose name is on the site. 

Additionally, California law does not allow reporting of more than seven years old criminal records. 

The lawsuit highlights Amazon’s violation of Megan’s Law and the background check provider's violation of California’s seven-year limit for criminal background checks and the FCRA by providing the retailer with illicit reports. Plaintiff seeks to be a representative of statewide classes on all three of those claims. The lawsuit seeks undetermined compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages.