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Class Action Suit Filed Against Macy’s Over Criminal History Checks

A class-action lawsuit against Macy’s is being brought by The Fortune Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting “successful reentry from incarceration” on behalf of its participants, and Jenetta Rolfer on behalf of herself and other similarly situated individuals.

According to the complaint, Macy’s “rejects job applicants, revokes job offers, and terminates the employment of people with criminal histories, even when the applicant’ and employee’ convictions are old, minor, and/or unrelated to the positions at issue.” These policies “reinforce the racial discrimination present in the criminal justice system and result in unjustified racial disparities” which violate Title VII. The lawsuit also alleges a violation of New York State’s Human Rights Law and the Fair Reporting and Credit Act (imposes requirements when a background check is requested)s.

Rolfer alleges that she was hired to work as a credit granting representative in Florida. She claims that she was terminated because a consumer reporting agency report showed a prior misdemeanor conviction for public nuisance related to a 10-year old traffic-related incident. According to Rolfer, the incident occurred after she failed to provide proof of insurance because she could not afford insurance at the time. Rolfer did not see the report prior to her termination. It is alleged in the complaint that Macy’s fails to take into account mitigating circumstances, evidence of rehabilitation, the time elapsed since the conviction, and the relation of the job to the nature of the offense prior to revoking job offers or terminating employees.