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Case Name Keels v. The GEO Group, Inc. EE-NY-0290
Docket / Court 1:15-cv-06261 ( E.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization Outten & Golden
Case Summary
On October 30, 2015, the plaintiff, a job applicant with a criminal record, filed this class action lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York. The plaintiff, represented by Outten & Golden LLP, sued two defendants, a company specializing in privatized corrections and the consumer reporting agency ... read more >
On October 30, 2015, the plaintiff, a job applicant with a criminal record, filed this class action lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York. The plaintiff, represented by Outten & Golden LLP, sued two defendants, a company specializing in privatized corrections and the consumer reporting agency that supplied consumer reports to the company, under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1681. The plaintiff alleged that the company routinely rejected job applicants based on information contained in background check reports in violation of the FCRA. Specifically, the company had taken adverse action against the plaintiff based on information in his consumer report, but prior to their decision and thus in violation of the FCRA, the defendants did not provide the plaintiff with a copy of the report and a description of the plaintiff’s rights under the FCRA.

On December 17, 2015, the plaintiffs amended their complaint to include an additional plaintiff. In early March of 2016, the parties began settlement discussions.

On May 19, 2016, the defendant consumer reporting agency filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. On July 14, 2016, plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their claims against the consumer reporting agency.

On October 5, 2016, plaintiffs motioned for preliminary approval of class action settlement, conditional certification of the settlement class, and approval of plaintiffs’ proposed notice of settlement. On September 30, 2017, the Court (Judge Carol Bagley Amon) approved the settlement.

The class was certified, for settlement purposes only, as:

All persons for whom GEO obtained a Consumer Report, from October 30, 2010 through the date of entry of this Order, as part of the GEO hiring or employee retention process, and at some point later in time either were not hired or were terminated, and by virtue of being provided with notice, have the opportunity to potentially become a member of the proposed class.

In exchange for class members releasing any and all claims related to this litigation, the defendants agreed to establish a settlement amount of $900,000.00 to cover payment to class members, plaintiffs’ counsel’s attorneys’ fees and costs, settlement administrator’s fees and costs, and service awards.

Class members were able to claim $100.00 if they had a consumer report that was completed and returned to the defendant on or between October 30, 2010 through October 29, 2013, or $200.00 if they had a consumer a consumer report completed and returned do the defendant on October 30, 2013 through the date of the final order. $300,000.00 of the settlement was allotted for Plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees and costs. Named plaintiffs were enabled to apply for a service awards up to $5000.00.

Defendants also agreed to revise their policies and implement a background check policy to ensure FCRA compliance. The defendant agreed to affirmative obligations of: (1) consolidating background check vendors; (2) contracting with vendors to assume the administration process for sending adverse action notices and engaging in periodic compliance audits; (3) performing FCRA training for HR employees; (4) transferring the responsibility of initiating the adverse action notice process to the regional or corporate level; (5) standardizing FCRA-related forms; (6) making copies of periodic background check reports available to employees upon request and inform employees of this right; and (7) conducting periodic audits of this process.

The case remains open as of November 15, 2017. The proposed final order and proposed final settlement are due to the court by January 23, 2018. A final settlement approval hearing is scheduled for February 23, 2018.

Cade Boland - 11/16/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Monitoring
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Training
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Hiring
EEOC-centric
No EEOC Final Resolution Type
General
Pattern or Practice
Records Disclosure
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Defendant(s) Accurate Background, LLC
The Geo Group, Inc.
Plaintiff Description All persons for whom GEO obtained a Consumer Report, from October 30, 2010 through the date of entry of this Order, as part of the GEO hiring or employee retention process, and at some point later in time either were not hired or were terminated, and by virtue of being provided with notice, have the opportunity to potentially become a member of the proposed class.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Outten & Golden
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Microsoft Gender Discrimination Class Action Lawsuit
Date: Oct. 14, 2016
By: Outten & Golden
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Age Discrimination Class Action seeks Fair Employment for Older PwC Applicants
http://www.pwcagecase.com/
Date: Apr. 27, 2016
By: Outten & Golden
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Smith Barney Gender Discrimination
https://www.lieffcabraser.com/employment/smith-barney/
Date: August 2008
By: Outten & Golden
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Date: Mar. 1, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
Date: Apr. 1, 2001
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:15-cv-06261-CBA-SMG (E.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0290-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/30/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
EE-NY-0290-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/30/2015
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 16]
EE-NY-0290-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/17/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement, Conditional Certification of the Settlement Class, Appointment of Plaintiffs' Counsel as Class Counsel [ECF# 49]
EE-NY-0290-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/05/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Amon, Carol Bagley (E.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0290-9000
Gold, Steven M. (E.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
EE-NY-0290-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Klein, Adam T. (New York)
EE-NY-0290-0002 | EE-NY-0290-0003 | EE-NY-0290-9000
McNerney, Christopher M. (New York)
EE-NY-0290-0001 | EE-NY-0290-0003 | EE-NY-0290-9000
Miazad, Ossai (New York)
EE-NY-0290-0001 | EE-NY-0290-0002 | EE-NY-0290-0003 | EE-NY-0290-9000
Steel, Lewis M (New York)
EE-NY-0290-0002 | EE-NY-0290-0003 | EE-NY-0290-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Devata, Pamela Q. (Illinois)
EE-NY-0290-9000
Farber, Evan K. (New York)
EE-NY-0290-9000
McClure, Shannon Elise (Pennsylvania)
EE-NY-0290-9000
O'Neil, Michael (Illinois)
EE-NY-0290-9000
Rollins, Anne E. (Pennsylvania)
EE-NY-0290-9000
Short, Carolyn P. (Pennsylvania)
EE-NY-0290-9000
Szyba, Robert Tadeusz (New York)
EE-NY-0290-9000

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