Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Court of Appeal Clears Employment Screening Agency Of Alleged Prohibited Use Of Information On Megan's Law Website

By Christopher S. Andre

On March 23, 2010, in Mendoza v. ADP Screening and Selection Services, Inc., the California Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's decision to strike Mendoza's complaint alleging ADP violated various statutes by disclosing to a prospective employer the appearance of Mendoza's name on the Megan's Law Website maintained by the California Department of Justice. For example, Mendoza alleged ADP violated California Penal Code Section 290.46, which prohibits the use of information disclosed on the Megan's Law Website for purposes relating to, among other things, employment.

The Court of Appeal held that ADP had a constitutionally protected right to disclose information found on the Megan's Law website and that the court properly granted ADP's special motion to strike Mendoza's complaint on the ground Mendoza could not show as a matter of law a probability of prevailing on his complaint. The court reasoned that ADP was not Mendoza's employer and therefore did not "use" information found on the Megan's Law in a way prohibited by the Penal Code. The court stated the Megan's Law website statute "is not intended to create liability for damages on the part of employment-screening businesses who access, compile and republish information disclosed on the MLW, and that the statutory liability created by the MLW statute should be limited to employers who 'use' information disclosed on the MLW as a basis for an employment decision."

Notably for employers, the court went on to state that Mendoza's "cause of action, if any, lies against his prospective employer, and not" ADP.

Click here to download and to view a copy of the decision.