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Waffle House Is Being Sued Over How It Conducts Background Checks

Several other chains have faced similar lawsuits.


Much like lengthy questionnaires and drug testing, background checks are an expected part of the job application process — but employers have to be careful how they utilize them: Waffle House is just the latest restaurant to wind up in court over how it conducts background checks. According to, the 24-hour diner chain is being sued by a Florida man who applied for a job with Waffle House last year.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, an employer has to provide a statement to job applicants notifying them that a background check is going to be conducted. The employer then has to notify an applicant if they intend not to hire them due to the findings of a background report; in theory, this would give the applicant an opportunity to correct any potential inaccuracies in said report. They also must notify the applicant after they've been denied employment. Plaintiff William Jones claims that Waffle House violated all three of those tenets when he applied for — and was subsequently denied — a job in December 2014, and he's seeking damages and a jury trial.

If this story sounds familiar, that's because Chipotle recently found itself in a similar situation: Last month, a job applicant in California slapped the burrito slingers with a lawsuit, claiming that the chain violated the FCRA by burying its background check disclosure within another document. The FCRA dictates that employers must use a separate document to obtain consent for background checks.

Fortune reported earlier this year on the surge in lawsuits targeting employers over FCRA-related violations, dubbing them "a tiny hiring technicality." Other companies that have been sued for similar violations include Whole Foods and Panera.

Post updated October 20, 4:12 p.m.: Reached by Eater for comment, a Waffle House rep gave the following statement: "We are aware of this matter and intend to vigorously defend our company against these claims."