Amazon sued over refusal to hire California sex offenders

Amazon sued over refusal to hire California sex offenders

Excerpted from a Reuters Blog by Daniel Wiessner

Amazon.com, Inc. is facing a proposed class action claiming it illegally used a California sex offender website to conduct background checks on job applicants.

Miguel Lerma, who was convicted of rape nearly a decade ago, filed a complaint in Los Angeles federal court last Thursday claiming Amazon and a background check provider violated state and federal laws by using the website and considering older convictions for sex offenses in screening applicants.

Lerma says he was offered a job at an Amazon Fresh grocery store in March, but Amazon reneged after the background check provider reported he had been convicted of felony sex offenses. Lerma last year had cleared a background check for a seasonal job at an Amazon fulfillment center, according to the complaint.

In 2013, Lerma was convicted of rape by force or fear and rape of a drugged or intoxicated victim and served five years in prison, according to the state Megan’s Law website, which is named for the 1996 law that established it.

Megan’s Law prohibits employers from denying jobs to applicants because their names appear on the website unless they do so “to protect a person at risk.” A different California law bars background reporting agencies from providing employers with criminal records that are more than seven years old.

Lerma accused Amazon of violating Megan’s Law and claims the background screening provider violated California’s seven-year bar for criminal background checks. He also said the background screening provider violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act by furnishing Amazon with unlawful reports.

Lerma is seeking to represent statewide classes on all three of those claims. The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory, statutory and punitive damages.

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