The Moore v. Rite Aid Headquarters Corp. case has a long history of addressing significant questions regarding an employer’s adverse action responsibilities under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. That history recently ended in the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, with a dismissal of Moore’s claims and a denial of her motion for class certification. In its December 21 opinion, the court found that Moore could not show that she had suffered an injury-in-fact stemming from her claim that Rite Aid failed to provide her with adequate notice before declining her employment.
Moore had applied for employment with Rite Aid and, as part of the application process, Rite Aid obtained a background check on her. Based on this background check, Moore was initially determined to be “ineligible for hire,” which triggered the mailing of a pre-adverse action letter to her. In this letter, Rite Aid informed Moore that she would not be offered employment if Rite Aid did not hear from her within five business days from the date of receipt of the letter. After receiving the pre-adverse action letter, Moore contacted Rite Aid to discuss her background. Despite this conversation, Moore was mailed an adverse action letter exactly five business days after the date of the pre-adverse action letter. This adverse action letter informed Moore that she would not be hired.
In her lawsuit, Moore alleged that Rite Aid violated the pre-adverse action provision of the FCRA (15 U.S.C. § 1681b(b)(3)) by taking adverse action against her without waiting the “full five day period” set forth in the pre-adverse action letter. The court dismissed her claim, finding that Moore had not suffered any injury-in-fact based on Rite Aid’s conduct.
According to the court, the FCRA’s pre-adverse action requirements are designed to “afford employees time to discuss reports with employers or otherwise respond before adverse action is taken.” That is exactly what happened here. In the court’s view, Moore was able to discuss her background report with Rite Aid after she received the pre-adverse action letter and before Rite Aid made the final decision not to hire her. According to the court, even if Rite Aid had failed to wait the full five-business-day period referenced in the pre-adverse action letter, the retailer did not violate Moore’s rights under the FCRA. She exercised her right to dispute her background report, Rite Aid heard her version of events, and it did not act unreasonably “in making a final employment decision prior to the expiration of the five days referenced in the Pre-Adverse Action Notice.”
Based on its analysis, the court concluded that Moore had “not suffered a concrete harm to her procedural rights under the FCRA.” As a result, it dismissed her claim for lack of standing. In doing so, the court advanced a reasonable reading of the FCRA. Its dismissal stands for the proposition that a defendant should not be held liable in federal court for a technical FCRA violation where the plaintiff experienced no actual negative consequences as a result.