In Saunders v. Apothaker Associates, Inc., a Muslim applicant was offered a position as a debt collector, contingent upon his criminal background check. Civ. No. 10-3170 (D.N.J. Apr. 17, 2012). Two days after the plaintiff started working, he was terminated when the background check arrived, revealing a felony retail theft conviction and a failure to repay $12,000 in court-ordered restitution. The plaintiff, who wore traditional Muslim attire at work, claimed that he had been terminated due to his religion in violation of Title VII and the NJLAD. Granting summary judgment for the employer, the court held that the plaintiff could not prove that he was qualified for the debt collection position due to the evidence uncovered in the criminal background check. According to the court, the felony theft and failure to pay restitution raised serious concerns “for obvious reasons,” considering the position was in the debt collection business.

Browse More Insights

Practice Group

Employment Law

Ogletree Deakins’ employment lawyers are experienced in all aspects of employment law, from day-to-day advice to complex employment litigation.

Learn more

Sign up to receive emails about new developments and upcoming programs.

Sign Up Now