Hebert v. Barnes & Noble, Inc., 78 Cal. App. 5th 791 (2022)

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) requires an employer to provide a job applicant with a standalone disclosure stating that the employer may obtain the applicant’s consumer report when making a hiring decision. In this putative class action, Vicki Hebert alleged that Barnes & Noble willfully violated the FCRA by providing job applicants such as herself with a disclosure that included extraneous language unrelated to the topic of consumer reports. Barnes & Noble argued that the “extraneous information” was included in the disclosure due to an inadvertent drafting error. The trial court granted summary judgment to Barnes & Noble, but in this opinion, the Court of Appeal reversed, holding that a jury could conclude that the violation was willful because at least one of the company’s employees was aware of the extraneous information in the disclosure (the manager of employee relations); the company may not have adequately trained its employees on FCRA compliance; and/or the company may not have had a monitoring system in place to ensure compliance with the statute.