How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Thelawman2 Your Own Question
Thelawman2, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 1505
Experience:  Attorney-at-Law
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Thelawman2 is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Lawyere, I'm not sure if I have an employment/labor case or

Customer Question

I'm not sure if I have an employment/labor case or not, however, I thought I'd reach out and give you a brief breakdown of what has happened to me over the last couple of weeks. I was originally offered a job by Amazon about three weeks ago. I was given five days to accept the offer in which I did. I was originally given a start date of 9/26/16, however, I got it pushed back to 10/3/16. I was given a relocation package of $7500 up front in which I used songs to make updates on my house to list on the market. Last week on Wednesday as I was packing my vehicle to leave for Dallas, I received an email starting my background check was pending still and my start date would be pushed back. The background check team asked for additional information on a few misdemeanors which I delivered back to them within 24 hours. Today I was informed by the Amazon rectifier recruiter that my background check had been completed but a decision had not been made yet. They stated they would email me the background check and I would receive a letter in the mail with the decision in approximately 8 business days. After doing some research I concluded that I probably didn't get the job because this seemed to be the protocol for businesses to follow due to the FCRA. Then about half hour ago I received an email from the relocation company stating they were informed I would not be taking the relocation and I need to pay the $7500 back. This tells me that Amazon has already told the relocation services that I will not be getting the job and I have not been given a chance to review my background check to make sure it is even accurate. This is just a brief summary of the situation. Please reach out to me if you believe there may be a case.
Chris Carbaugh
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Thelawman2 replied 10 months ago.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I will be helping you today.

Was there any agreement related to the relocation expense payment between you and the company. This is what is important for determining whether or not you have to pay the $7500 back. Usually, there is a provision in these types of agreements which require you to pay back the amount if your offer is withdrawn or you are terminated within a specified amount of time. If there is no such agreement, you could potentially argue that there is no legal obligation for you to return the $7500. It was offered to you to pay for relocation expenses, you used that money to prep for relocation, and then the offer was rescinded. You relied on their representation and, unless there is an agreement to the contrary, you have every right to use that money in preparation for relocating.

Now as for the termination of your offer, unless there was an employment contract between you and the company, there isn't really anything you can do. Employment in the US is "at will" and you can be let go for any reason or no reason at all as long as it is not related to certain types of discrimination.

I hope this has been helpful. If so, please provide me a positive rating. Then if you have any additional questions, feel free to continue asking!

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thanks for the response. It was a contingent offer based on my background check. I guess I have a couple more questions: 1) Why would a misdemeanor disqualify me from the job when it didn't on my previous job? 2) If I read the FCRA law correctly, if you are denied a job due to a background check they must first send you a copy of the background check so the applicant can look it over for discrepancies, give you enough time to dispute the charges before making a decision on employment, and then mail you a letter stating what caused the company not to hire you. If this is the case, Amazon made a decision before I received a copy of the background check as they notified the relocation company that I was not getting the job the same day I was notified the background check had cleared but they still needed to make a decision on employment eligibility. I'm not an expert and may have read it wrong but I'm just looking for some advice/clarification. Thanks.
Expert:  Thelawman2 replied 10 months ago.

As to whether the misdemeanor would disqualify you from your job, this is simply an internal decision of the company and they have a right to determine not to hire someone with any criminal background if they desire.

As for the FCRA, before any adverse action is taken based at least in part on information obtained during a background check, the employer must provide you:

  • A notice of the adverse action
  • A copy of the report.
  • A summary of the your rights
Expert:  Thelawman2 replied 10 months ago.

An employer’s failure to adhere to the “pre-adverse action notice” requirements can entitle the applicant to damages against the employer, even if the applicant otherwise would not have successfully challenged the accuracy of the background check report.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
with the employer notifying the relocation company already of a decision, does that constitute as them taking adverse action prematurely?
Expert:  Thelawman2 replied 10 months ago.

Yes, based on what the relocation company told you, the employer has already taken the adverse action; they just haven't told you about it yet personally.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Okay, so what would my next steps be?
Expert:  Thelawman2 replied 10 months ago.

An FCRA violation can result in “actual damages” for lost wages, if the applicant can show that the violation negligently resulted in the denial of a job opportunity. This would most likely require a demonstration that the background check was incorrect.

Nonetheless, even without such “actual damages,” the FCRA provides for “statutory damages” of between $100 and $1,000 per violation, plus potential “punitive damages.” Punitive damages are basically an amount deemed by a reasonable jury, in its discretion, to punish the offending party, with a general limit of not more than 8 to 10 times the amount of other damages available for the claim.

Not a lot of money but you could potentially force a settlement with the employer due to their violation.