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Judge Rules Amazon Can Be Sued for Refusing to Hire Convicted Murderer

AP Photo/John Locher

A federal judge said retail behemoth Amazon and its Whole Foods unit can be sued for refusing to hire a convicted murderer who applied for a grocery delivery position.


In a report published Thursday by Reuters,  U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan said Henry Franklin could pursue a proposed class action lawsuit after getting turned down from the job at Cornucopia Logistics, which serves Amazon and Whole Foods. 

Reportedly, Amazon did not offer Franklin the position after the company conducted a background check on him. The background check revealed he lied on his April 2019 job application by answering “no” when asked if he had a criminal record.

“New York law bars employers from rejecting job applicants based on their criminal histories unless the crimes relate directly to the jobs sought, or hirings would pose an unreasonable risk to the public.

Without ruling on the merits, Caproni said the defendants failed to show that either exception applied, adding that Franklin ‘has adequately alleged that he is rehabilitated and no longer poses a threat to the public.’

She also said she was ‘sympathetic to defendants' likely position that they do not want a convicted murderer delivering groceries to their customers' homes.’

The defendants and their lawyers did not immediately respond on Thursday to requests for comment. Franklin's lawyers did not immediately respond to similar requests.

Amazon and Whole Foods had argued that Franklin's lie was reason enough turn him down, and he lacked standing to sue them because neither was his ‘prospective’ employer.”


Reportedly, Franklin was convicted of second-degree murder in June 1995 and paroled in June 2018. Bloomberg reported that Franklin sued on behalf of himself and other ex-convicts who’ve been turned down from jobs by Amazon.

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