Dollar General Agrees To 4 Million Dollar Settlement For Improper Use Of Background Credit Information

 The case is Marcum v. Dolgencorp (E.D. Va., No. 12-108, 10/16/14) and the reason for the settlement has nothing to do with adverse impact.  The basis of the settlement is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  The following is a brief overview of your rights under the FCRA:

  • You must be told if information in your file has been used against you.
  • You have the right to know what is in your file.
  • You have the right to ask for a credit score.
  • You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information.
  • Consumer reporting agencies may not report outdated negative information.
  • You must give your consent for reports to be provided to employers.
  • You may limit “prescreened” offers of credit and insurance you get based on information in your credit report.
  • You may seek damages from violators.
  • Identity theft victims and active duty military personnel have additional rights.

Ordinarily, we think of such laws as protecting us from high interest rates and the like when seeking loans for cars and houses.  But in this particular case, Dollar General was sued by Marcum (and other named plaintiffs) for not only using credit information without knowledge of job applicants, but also, making adverse employment decisions based on that information.  Perhaps the EEOC has been taking the wrong approach in addressing these actions.

At any rate, before you get too excited, it’s the lawyers and administrators that won here.  They get up to 25% of the 4 million (4 million and 80 dollars) and the settlement administrators get $270,000 plus postage (gosh I’d love that job).  And the class members?  There are a few named plaintiffs who get ten thousand apiece.  Beyond that, there are two groups.  Group one consists of 112,000 applicants to Dollar General between 2/13/07 to 7/1/13 and they get …. drum-role please --- $53 a head … yeah you heard me right …. fifty three dollars a head. The second group gets injunctive relief only if they were applicants subject to failure to follow FCRA rules who did not necessarily suffer adverse actions.  Some are still free to apply for their $53 check, and there is an opt-out clause.  That sounds nice, but the clause is written in such a way as to discourage any class actions.

Those interested in reading the settlement are directed to:

Marcum v. Dolgencorp Settlement 

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