In a July 13th ruling, LA County Superior Court granted a motion for class certification in a lawsuit alleging that Walt Disney Parks and Resorts violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act in its employment practices. It is estimated that violations affected over 40,000 people, many of them with past criminal records.
The lawsuit (Culberson et al. v. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts) was originally filed in November of 2013. Two clients (now class representatives) of A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project’s legal clinic applied for jobs at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, after expunging their records with the help of the clinic. Disneyland had them sign an authorization form potentially waiving their legal rights, and their expunged records showed up in background checks. By the time the background check company was notified and errors corrected, the seasonal positions applied for were no longer available.
The class representatives allege that the inclusion of the waiver in the authorization form violates 15 U.S.C. §1681b(b)(2) and that the failure to provide a meaningful opportunity to correct the error on the background check report violates 15 U.S.C. §1681b(b)(3). Both classes were certified and are represented by Joshua E. Kim of A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project, along with Devin H. Fok, of DHF Law, PC and V. Andre Sherman of Girardi & Keese.
A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project applauds the Court’s recent ruling, especially given Disneyland’s repeated attempt to portray the class as “felons” undeserving of protection under the law. Disneyland’s hostile attitude toward people with past criminal records is what perpetuates the vicious cycle of mass incarceration, alienation, and impoverishment. A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project is committed to breaking this vicious cycle by policy advocacy, community organizing, and impact litigation.
(Link to THE COURT’S RULING CERTIFYING THE CLASS)
About A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project (ANWOL):
ANWOL is a grassroots, nonprofit organization founded in 1998 by Susan Burton. After Susan’s five-year old son was accidentally hit and killed by a car, Susan numbed her grief through alcohol and drug abuse. She was not offered help to address her pain. As a result, she became enmeshed in the criminal justice system for nearly two decades before finding freedom and sobriety in 1997. She has since made it her life’s mission to help others adversely affected by the effects of incarceration by providing support and resources. Susan has earned numerous awards and honors for her work. In 2010, she was named a CNN Top Ten Hero and received the prestigious Citizen Activist Award from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is currently a recipient of both the Encore Purpose Prize (2012) and the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award (2014). In 2015, on the 50th Anniversary of Selma and the Voting Rights Act, Susan was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of eighteen New Civil Rights Leaders in the nation. Her memoir, Becoming Ms. Burton was released in May of 2017. ANWOL has been honored with a Ford Freedom Unsung Award that salutes “organizations that have positively impacted communities with achievements that inform and inspire others.”
Mission: A New Way Of Life advances multi-dimensional solutions to the effects of incarceration.
- We provide housing and support to formerly incarcerated women for successful community re-entry, family reunification and individual healing.
- We work to restore the civil rights of formerly incarcerated people.
- We empower, organize and mobilize formerly incarcerated people as advocates for social change and personal transformation.
Vision: We envision a world where every person can make decisions for his/her own life, is accountable for those decisions and is valued as a contributing member of the community.
Legal Services: ANWOL offers free legal clinics twice a month; one in Watts, the other in Long Beach. The organization also offers weekly “Walk In Wednesday” legal clinics in Long Beach. Utilizing staff attorneys and leveraging the services of community volunteers, ANWOL provides cutting edge, pro bono legal information and representation to expunge criminal records, access occupational licenses, provide community education and constituent relief as eligible under Prop. 47 & 64, mitigate the disproportionate burden of traffic fines and otherwise protect the civil and employment rights of formerly incarcerated/convicted individuals.
Joshua E. Kim – Litigation Attorney