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California based Whole Foods hit with class action lawsuit

Many of our California readers, along with those in other parts of the country, are familiar with Whole Foods Market Inc. These stores are well known for selling high quality, organic food.

Despite the fact that the grocery chain is based in Austin, Texas, it has individual units all over the country. Recently, a Fresno-based Whole Foods Market store was hit with a class action lawsuit due to claims that its online form seeking approval from job applicants' for criminal checks was in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The lawsuit was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Oakland, California. It claims that the application form used by Whole Foods has been presented to applicants since January 2009. The lawsuit is seeking damages of as much as $1,000 for every individual that the store obtained a customer report for, along with punitive damages.

The lawsuit states, "The online authorization forms all contained language releasing those who obtained the consumer reports from all liability, in violation of the FCRA's requirement that the authorizations be pristine documents that contain nothing other than the required disclosures and the requested authorization."

Although the plaintiff who was hired in May 2011 no longer works at the store, he still has the ability to file a lawsuit.

These types of class action lawsuits are more common than many people realize, requiring the attention of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. While Whole Foods has yet to comment, more information will likely come out in the near future.

Source: Business Insurance, "Whole Foods faces class action suit over criminal background checks" Judy Greenwald, Feb. 11, 2014

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