Department of Labor Issues Training Letter to Job Banks on New EEOC Guidance for Criminal Records

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), in conjunction with the Civil Rights Center (CRC), has issued a Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) to public Job Banks and other “covered entities” on complying with nondiscrimination provisions that include new Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Guidance on criminal record restrictions and disparate impact based on race and national origin. The ‘TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT GUIDANCE LETTER NO. 31-11’ is available at:

The purpose of the TEGL is to provide information about exclusions based on criminal records and how they are relevant to the existing nondiscrimination obligations for the public workforce system and other “covered entities” that receive federal financial assistance to operate Job Banks, assist job seekers in obtaining employment, and assist employers by screening qualified applicants. The TEGL explains that restrictions based on criminal history records may have a disparate impact on members of a particular race or national origin, in violation of federal antidiscrimination laws.

The “covered entities” include:

  • One-Stop Career Centers
  • State Workforce Agencies
  • State Workforce Administrators
  • State Workforce Liaisons
  • State and Local Workforce Board Chairs and Directors
  • State and Locals Equal Opportunities Officers
  • State Labor Commissioners
  • Workforce Investment Act Section 166 Indian and Native American Grantees
  • Workforce Investment Act Section 167 Migrant and National Farmworker Jobs Program Grantees
  • Senior Community Service Employment Program Grantees
  • Employment and Training Administrative Regional Administrators
  • Job Corps Contractors
  • Sub-Recipients of Department of Labor Financial Assistance

The TEGL is intended to help covered entities – and their employer customers – comply with their nondiscrimination obligations when serving job seekers with criminal records and applies to all jobs available through a covered entity’s job bank whether the job is in government or the private sector, including federal contractors and subcontractors. A full version of the TEGL is at

According to the TEGL, covered entities should conduct their activities using safeguards to prevent discrimination and promote employment opportunities for job seekers with criminal records. The guidance includes specific activities covered entities may use to enhance compliance with nondiscrimination requirements and practical steps to aid compliance with the law. The TEGL also includes the following attachments to use as part of the policies and procedures for posting job announcements in Job Banks and screening and referral based on criminal record restrictions:

Program operators are directed to review their existing policies and procedures and make any changes necessary to implement the guidance discussed in this TEGL. Inquiries about civil rights issues should be addressed to CRC, by phone at 202-693-6500 (voice) or 202-693-6516 (TTY) or by e-mail at Further information about the discrimination complaint process is available on CRC’s website at

For more information about the EEOC Guidance and criminal background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and nationwide background screening provider accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – at, call toll free 888.999.4474, or email


About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):

Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more, visit, call 888.999.4474, or email

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The Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at