By Cherri Gregg

By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A bus driver rejected from a job at SEPTA has filed a federal lawsuit claiming the agency misused his background check to disqualify him from the position.

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The complaint filed Wednesday claims SEPTA offered longtime commercial driver Frank Long a job as a bus operator in 2014, but later rescinded the job offer because of a 20-year-old drug conviction.

“Employers cannot turn someone down for a job unless the conviction is related to the job,” says Ben Geffen, an attorney who works for the Public Interest Law Center.

He says Long has worked as a school bus driver and deliver truck driver for years and was qualified for the position. He says Long cleared every hurdle for job until Septa ran the background check.

He claims the agency violated federal and state law by failing to disclose its use of the criminal records check and to provide Long notice of why his job officer was being rescinded.

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“There are laws out there that protect the rights of people with records when applying for jobs,” says Geffen, “our goal is filing this lawsuit is to raise awareness among employers and job applicants that that these laws exist.”

Geffen says the lawyers, which include Outten & Golden LLP, Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Willig, Williams & Davidson, are also seeking class action certification.

“There may others out there who may have been illegally denied jobs by SEPTA,” he says, “we would like them to contact us.”

The lawsuit seeks an injunction, statutory damages, exemplary and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and more.

Septa declined to comment citing pending litigation. For more on the lawsuit, go to

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