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Colorado Worker Files Class Action Lawsuit Alleging that Careless Background Checks Harm Tens of Thousands of Workers Nationwide


Denver, April 26, 2017:  Abusive and careless background check reporting hurts the job prospects of tens of thousands of workers--including members of The Gathering Place, Denver’s only daytime drop-in center for women, children and transgender individuals experiencing poverty or homelessness. With Towards Justice as Counsel, Elsie Compo, a Gathering Place Member, brought a class action lawsuit against one of the largest background check companies in the country, Sterling Infosystems, Inc., in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Ms. Compo claims that Sterling ’s careless reporting procedures violated the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and prevented Wal-Mart from offering her a job. Specifically, Sterling falsely reported to Wal-Mart that Ms. Compo had resided at a “High Risk Residential Facility” during the period when she used The Gathering Place address to receive mail.

“I have been working hard to get a job so that I don’t need to be reliant on friends and family for support,” Ms. Compo said. “But this company’s practices have hurt my chances of even being able to provide housing for myself and my family. And what they’ve said about me isn’t true. I’ve never been at a residential facility, and certainly not a high risk one.” She also explained: “What Sterling did is incredibly unfair, and I want to bring this case to protect the rights of all of the tens of thousands of people who’ve been harmed by Sterling, some of whom may not even know it yet.”

The Gathering Place’s Julia Stewart, Vice President of Internal Resources, also expressed frustration. “We want to provide a safe space and stable address for women, children, and transgender people. That’s particularly important for people experiencing homelessness or domestic violence. They need that address for everything from their children's school registration forms to their election ballots. A person’s address or their financial circumstances shouldn’t prevent them from being considered for a job. Further, The Gathering Place is not a residential facility, and we certainly aren’t ‘high risk.’”

“Background reporting is a lucrative business,” explained Towards Justice Executive Director Nina DiSalvo. “Companies like Sterling are too rarely concerned with privacy or accuracy, and Ms. Campo’s allegations show how such carelessness harms vulnerable workers. I am inspired by Ms. Campo’s bravery in challenging Sterling’s practices both for herself and for workers across the country.”

The case is Gambles v. Sterling Microsystems, Inc., Case No.: 1:15-cv-09746, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Towards Justice, a Colorado non-profit organization, is co-counsel to the Plaintiffs along with the law firms of Berger & Montague, P.C., Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC, and Jaeckel Law, LLC.

Media Contact:  Nina DiSalvo* Towards Justice* (970) 403-5694*




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