U.S. Xpress settles for $2.75 million in lawsuit over background checks

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 4/10/2013

A Chattanooga, TN, trucking company has agreed to settle a lawsuit for $2.75 million. Members of the class action lawsuit claimed the company violated the Fair Credit and Reporting Act by failing to properly disclose its hiring practices, including criminal background checks.

U.S. Xpress Inc., which has more than 7,000 drivers, agreed to settle the punitive class action lawsuit on Friday, April 5, pending approval from U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Collier for the Eastern District of Tennessee in Chattanooga.

According to court documents, Robert R. Bell Jr., named plaintiff in the class action lawsuit, applied for a trucking job with U.S. Xpress back in October 2009. Bell claims the company did not ask him verbally or in writing to authorize the procurement of a consumer report through HireRight Solutions Inc.

The company’s decision not to hire him was based on information they obtained through the HireRight criminal background report, which falsely claimed that Bell “had been convicted of felony burglary, felony, robbery, grand larceny and several parole violations, all leading to a 10-year prison sentence.” However, none of the crimes had been committed by Bell.

In the lawsuit, Bell states he did not find out why he wasn’t hired by U.S. Xpress until he received a derogatory letter and a copy of the report from HireRight in the mail nearly a week later.

U.S. Xpress estimates the settlement class may consist of approximately 72,000 truck drivers, who applied for a job with the company from July 8, 2009, to Dec. 31, 2011.

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