Frequently Asked Questions
- What is this lawsuit about?
This lawsuit alleges that the Census Bureau’s process of screening applicants with criminal histories is arbitrary and unfair, that it deters applicants with criminal histories from applying for and obtaining Census jobs, and that the process discriminates against African American, Latino, and Native American applicants because they are disproportionately more likely to have criminal histories than White applicants.
- What is a Class Action?
In a class action, one or more people sue on behalf of a group of people, whom they allege have been subjected to the same policy that violates the law.
- Who started the lawsuit?
The individuals who started the lawsuit are called the Plaintiffs. Their names are Evelyn Houser & Eugene Johnson . Both of the Plaintiffs applied for positions with the Census Bureau.
- How do I know whether I will be included in the case?
If you applied for a temporary, non-managerial position with the Census Bureau for the 2010 Census and were deterred from maintaining your application or rejected because of the Bureau’s process of screening applicants for criminal history, you may be a member of the alleged Class, if the Judge “certifies” it and decides that it should proceed as a class action. This short Questionnaire will help us determine your eligibility.
If the court decides not to certify the case as a class action, you may be required to pursue your own case to protect your rights.
- What do I have to do to be a part of this lawsuit?
You do not need to do anything at this time to protect your right to be part of this lawsuit. If you are eligible to be part of the class that the Judge certifies, you will automatically become part of the lawsuit. In order for us to assess your claims and to assist with our investigation of the facts, we ask that you please complete this short Questionnaire.
- Is the Questionnaire confidential?
We will not voluntarily disclose the information in the Questionnaire to anybody, but there is a chance that a court will order us to turn it over to the Census Bureau during the lawsuit. If that happens, we will request that the court require the Bureau to keep the information confidential.
- How can I find out more?
You can keep track of this case by periodically checking this website.
- What will we get if the Census Bureau loses or settles?
The Plaintiffs are seeking a court order that would reform the Census Bureau’s process of screening for criminal history, as well as lost wages for individuals who were victims of the allegedly discriminatory process. We hope that we will be successful but cannot guarantee any result.
- My application is pending with the Census Bureau. Can the Bureau refuse to hire me for participating in this lawsuit?
It is unlawful for the Census Bureau to retaliate against you, including by refusing to hire you, for participating in this lawsuit.
- I have a job with another company. Can my employer fire me for participating in this lawsuit?
It is unlawful for any employer, including employers other than the Census Bureau, to retaliate against you for participating in this lawsuit.
- I received my 2010 Census Form in the mail. Should I still fill it out and return it?
YES! We encourage everyone to fill out and return their Census Forms, especially people of color who have been underrepresented in past Census counts. An accurate Census count is incredibly important. It effects how many Representatives your community sends to Congress and how billions of dollars in resources are allocated, including resources for hospitals, schools, and training centers.