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New York OCFS Class Action Settlement Receives Preliminary Approval

This is a settlement for the Employment lawsuit.

New York, NY: A class action legal settlement has been reached that could restore the employment rights of up to 25,000 New Yorkers. According to the settlement agreement reached between Class Counsel and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) thousands of people listed on a statewide "Abuse and Maltreatment Register" could receive hearings to have their names cleared.

The Abuse and Maltreatment Register, which is maintained by the OCFS, a New York State Agency, contains the names of individuals accused of maltreating children. Most child-related employment and licensing agencies must check the Register before hiring. As a result, prospective hires generally cannot work with children until their names are cleared from the Register.

Under the terms of the settlement, the State will send notices to the roughly 25,000 people on the Register whose Requests for Hearings were terminated between 2003 and 2007. The notice will inform people that they may have a right to request a new hearing. Those who respond by expressing interest in a hearing will have their records reviewed by OCFS, which must produce documentation of a hearing decision. If the State agency is unable to produce a decision, a new hearing will be scheduled.

OCFS also agreed not to re-institute a project that terminated Hearing Requests when an employer or licensing agency lost interest in an applicant.

Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York gave preliminary approval for the settlement on February 17, 2010. A Fairness Hearing will be held on April 20, 2010 in which Judge Scheindlin will decide whether to grant final approval. If she does grant final approval, Class Counsel will monitor the implementation of the terms of the settlement for up to three years.

Judge Scheindlin must still determine how swiftly the state must schedule and decide requested hearings. Currently, an average of 8 to 10 months or longer pass before hearing requests are decided. A website ( has been established to provide information for people who have not received a requested hearing.

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Published on Feb-24-10


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