Does this apply to you?

On May 15, 2017, Outten & Golden, LLP filed an Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (“EEOC”) charge on behalf of The Fortune Society (“Fortune”) against Macy’s, Inc. alleging that that the retailer’s criminal background check policies and practices used to screen job applicants results in discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (‘Title VII”). On June 6, 2017, Outten & Golden filed a second EEOC discrimination charge against Bloomingdale’s, a subsidiary of Macy’s, Inc., on behalf of Corey Stewart, a former Bloomingdale’s employee. Mr. Stewart alleges that Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, Inc. violated Title VII by refusing to hire and/or retain individuals like him with criminal histories who were otherwise qualified for the jobs to which they applied.

Macy’s, Inc. owns and operates hundreds of stores under the names of Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Bloomingdale’s Outlet, Macy’s Backstage, and Bluemercury (collectively “Macy’s”).  Fortune and Mr. Stewart contend that Macy’s’ practices result in otherwise qualified applicants and employees being denied job opportunities because of their criminal histories, which bear no relationship to their ability to perform the jobs sought.  The charges request that the EEOC investigate Fortune’s and Mr. Stewart’s claims against Macy’s on a class wide basis.

Founded in 1967, The Fortune Society is a nonprofit community-based organization with a mission to support the successful community reentry of individuals involved with the criminal justice system.  Through an array of critical programming, Fortune provides much needed reentry-related services—including job training and placement services—to approximately 6,500 people each year.

Applicants for employment at Macy’s, Bloomindale’s or Bluemercury who were denied employment and/or those employees who were terminated because of their criminal records may be eligible to participate in the EEOC investigation and any subsequent lawsuit.  If you believe that any of these retailers denied you employment or terminated your employment because of your criminal record, we would like to talk to you.  Contact us here or call us at 212-245-1000.  

Outten & Golden is dedicated to representing employees to protect their rights against injustices in the workplace.  Our legal team is committed to advancing the rights of individuals with criminal records who seek gainful employment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to agree to a background check?

In general, an employer can require a background check as a condition of employment. However, the employer must first get your signed written authorization, and otherwise follow the procedures set out in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Moreover, what your employer can ask you may be limited by state law.
Do you have more questions? Contact us here.

Can I be denied employment because of a criminal conviction?

In general, employers should not be denying employment because of a criminal conviction without performing an individualized inquiry. Under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines, employers should look at factors like the nature and gravity of the offense, the time since the offense, and the nature of the job, and should only exclude an applicant because of his or her criminal record if there is a “business justification.” This is because the exclusions may operate to disproportionately and unjustifiably exclude people of a particular race or national origin (or other protected category) in which case it would violate Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964. Under New York State and City law, it is illegal to deny employment because of a criminal conviction without considering the eight factors laid out in the New York Correction Law. Many other states also have restrictions on the use of criminal convictions in hiring.

Do you have more questions? Contact us here.

Can I be denied employment because of an arrest?

As a general matter, employers should not be using arrests that did not lead to a conviction as a basis to deny employment. Under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), guidelines, employers should not exclude people based upon arrests that did not lead to conviction unless there is a “business justification.” Under New York State and City law, it is illegal to deny employment because of an arrest if it is not currently pending, and was terminated in your favor, unless the denial is specifically required or permitted by other laws. Many other states including California, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wisconsin also have restrictions on the use of arrest records in hiring.

Do you have more questions? Contact us here.

Can a prospective employer make a decision not to hire me before providing me with a copy of my background check?

No. If you authorized a background check, the prospective employer must provide you with a copy of that background check before making a decision about whether to hire you. The prospective employer must also provide you with a reasonable amount of time to contest the information on the background check report before making a decision about whether to hire you.

Do you have more questions? Contact us here.

What are the statutes of limitations for my claims?

Under Title VII, you must first file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) before filing a lawsuit. In New York, you have 300 days from the adverse action to file a charge, but in other states your time to file may be only 180 days.

Under the New York State Human Rights Law and New York City Human Rights Law, you have three years from the adverse action to file an action.

Do you have more questions? Contact us here.

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