Kyla Asbury Oct. 16, 2014, 3:20pm

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - Four individuals have filed a class action against LinkedIn for allegedly violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

LinkedIn failed to comply with the certification and disclosure requirements mandated by the FCRA for credit reporting agencies that furnish consumer reports for employment purposes and failed to maintain reasonable procedures to limit the furnishing of consumer reports for the purposes enumerated in the FCRA and to assure maximum possible accuracy of consumer report information, the complaints say.

The complaint was filed Oct. 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Tracee Sweet, Lisa Jaramillo, James Ralston and Tiffany Thomas claim they each had their rights under the FCRA violated by virtue of the defendant's reference search functionality.

At all relevant times, each of the plaintiffs was a registered user on LinkedIn and each of them had a reference report run on them via LinkedIn, according to the suit.

"Upon information and belief, LinkedIn furnished a reference report on each of the plaintiffs for employment purposes," the complaint states. "However, because LinkedIn does not disclose to its members when reference reports are run, all of the evidence as to the date and timing of the reference reports and the name of the entities to whom they were furnished, is solely in the hands of LinkedIn and any third parties that accessed the reference reports."

In July, Sweet located a job opening for employment in the hospitality industry on LinkedIn, and submitted her resume through LinkedIn. Several days later, she received a notification from LinkedIn that the general manager of the potential employer had viewed her profile.

"Shortly thereafter, the general manager contacted...Sweet through email, wrote that he had heard good things about her and that his company wanted to interview her immediately," the complaint states.

Later that week, the general manager interviewed Sweet and, at the end of the interview, Sweet told the general manager to let her know if he wanted her to provide a list of references. The general manager did not ultimately obtain a list of references directly from her.

The plaintiffs claim following the interview, Sweet was contacted by the potential employer and advised that she was going to be hired for the position. However, soon thereafter, the company called her back and said it had changed its mind and that she would not be hired.

"When Ms. Sweet inquired as to why she was first offered the job and then told she was not going to be hired, the general manager told her that the company had checked some references for...Sweet and, based on those references, had changed its mind," the complaint states.

The plaintiffs claim LinkedIn's violations of the FCRA are willful in that it intentionally and knowingly disseminated the reference reports and did so in a manner that violated the FCRA.

The plaintiffs are seeking class certification and punitive damages. They are being represented by Todd M. Friedman of the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman.

The case is assigned to District Judge Paul Singh Grewal.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California case number: 5:14-cv-04531

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