A job applicant applying for a position with a metal coating business in Bucks County has
filed a lawsuit against the company claiming he was unfairly denied the position because of a 15-year-old criminal record.
Philadelphia resident Reginald Lewis is suing Morrisville, Pa.-based Brightsmith LLC over claims that the company never gave him an opportunity to explain his crimes of more than a decade ago, which included convictions for carrying a firearm without a license, robbery and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
Lewis asserts in his lawsuit, which was filed in state court in Philadelphia Sept. 24 by Philadelphia attorney Todd A. Lasky, of the firm Zavodnick & Zavodnick, that he was interviewed for the position of “bander” with Brightsmith on Aug. 28 of this year, immediately after which he was verbally offered the job.
Lewis was then informed that he would have to undergo a drug test at Lower Bucks Hospital the following day before he could begin his employment, according to the civil action.
Lewis was also told that the company would be performing a criminal background test.
Mere hours after receiving the verbal job offer Lewis was told via telephone that the drug test had been canceled, although no reason was offered at the time as to the reason behind that decision, the suit says.
The following day, a human resources representative called Lewis to tell him that he would not be able to work for the company due to his criminal background.
The lawsuit states that Lewis has not yet received any written communication from the defendant further explaining the basis for its decision to not hire the plaintiff.
Lewis claims that he was never offered the opportunity to explain the circumstances surrounding his convictions, which were 15 years old.
He also claims that he has not been convicted of any crimes since that time.
The lawsuit states that Lewis was fully qualified for the position of bander, which he had performed satisfactorily for other companies in the past.
The complaint further states that in his capacity as bander, Lewis would not have had any access to the defendant’s money, bank accounts or other property that could have been removed from the facility.
“Defendant provided no other reason for its decision not to hire Plaintiff on as an employee other than the results of his criminal background check,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit claims that the defendant violated Pennsylvania law when it improperly used the plaintiff’s prior convictions in his application for employment because: the convictions have no relationship to the plaintiff’s suitability for employment as bander; the plaintiff would not have been responsible for the handling of cash or other money exchanges between customers and the defendant; and the defendant failed to notify Lewis in writing that its decision to not hire the plaintiff was based on the results of the criminal background check.
The complaint alleges that the defendant’s actions were willful and malicious, and were undertaken for the purpose of depriving Lewis of his right to earn a living.
Lewis seeks compensatory damages in excess of $50,000, plus punitive damages in excess of the same amount.
He also seeks interest, reasonable attorney’s fees and the costs of the suit.
A jury trial has been demanded.
The case ID number is 120902670.