Employment Screening Resources Releases Whitepaper to Help Employers Comply with New EEOC Guidance on Criminal Records

To help employers understand the updated U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Guidance on the use of criminal records, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) Founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen has written a new whitepaper, ‘Practical Steps Employers Can Take to Comply with New EEOC Criminal Record Guidance.’ The complimentary whitepaper from ESR is undergoing a controlled release and will be available to employers by emailing EEOCwhitepaper@esrcheck.com.

“The purpose of this whitepaper is to go beyond simply repeating the EEOC Guidance language and instead give real world examples and suggestions on what employers should do now to remain in compliance while performing criminal background checks,” says Rosen, who just completed an updated second edition of his comprehensive book on screening, ‘The Safe Hiring Manual,’ that will be published in October 2012. For more information about the book, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/SafeHiringManual.php.

On April 25, 2012, the EEOC – the agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – voted to update the Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complete text of the updated Guidance is available at http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm. In the 22 page whitepaper, Rosen – a noted background check expert – covers several topics, including:

  • History of EEOC Criminal Record Guidance
  • Arrest Records vs. Conviction Records
  • Disparate Treatment vs. Disparate Impact
  • Federal, State & Local Laws and the EEOC Guidance
  • “Ban the Box” and Limited Questions about Past Conduct
  • Factors Added to Three Part “Green” Test
  • Notifying Applicants of Individualized Assessments
  • EEOC Recommended Best Practices for Employers
  • Criticism of the New EEOC Guidance
  • EEOC: The Good, The May Be Good & The Impossible
  • Potential Employer Responses to New EEOC Guidance

“Even with increased regulations, employers must still do background checks to ensure that new hires are qualified, capable, and free from unacceptable risk,” says Rosen, a frequent speaker nationwide on due diligence issues as part of the ‘ESR Speaks’ program. “The updated EEOC Guidance requires some additional processes be incorporated into policies and procedures. While change is always a burden, these additional requirements can be effectively managed.”

The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. While the new EEOC Guidance is not a rule or regulation and therefore does not have the force or effect of law, the document is important for employers since it is the EEOC’s position on enforcement of Title VII in regarding criminal records.

Rosen says the EEOC has long taken the position that employers should not automatically reject applicants with criminal records without considering whether the criminal matter was related to the job so that there was a “business necessity” to deny employment. The EEOC recommends employers first analyze three factors: the nature of the crime; the time elapsed; and the nature of the job. This three part test is known as the “Green” test based upon Green v .Missouri Pacific Railroad, 523 F.2d 1290 (8th Cir. 1975). The new Guidance enhances the three part test with more detailed definitions.

Recent enforcement actions by the EEOC include the E-RACE (Eradicating Racism and Colorism in Employment) initiative and a strategic plan to target systemic violators. For example, a major beverage firm agreed to pay $3.13 million and make policy changes to resolve a charge of nationwide hiring discrimination against African Americans with criminal background checks following an investigation.

As criminal background checks have become more common, they also have come under greater scrutiny from the EEOC. A 2012 survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found nearly seven out of ten organizations – 69 percent – conduct criminal background checks on all job candidates while 18 percent conduct criminal checks on some candidates and 14 percent do not conduct any at all.

Rosen founded Employment Screening Resources (ESR) in 1997 and the firm is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by less than two percent of all screening firms. He was the chairperson of the steering committee that founded the NAPBS, a non-profit trade group representing the screening industry, and served as the first co-chair.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority ’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed safe hiring decisions for the benefit for their organizations, their employees, and the public. For more information about ESR, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/, call toll free 888.999.4474, or email customerservice@esrcheck.com.

The complimentary whitepaper written by Employment Screening Resources (ESR) Founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen, ‘Practical Steps Employers Can Take to Comply with New EEOC Criminal Record Guidance,’ is undergoing a controlled release and will be available to employers by emailing EEOCwhitepaper@esrcheck.com.

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 http://www.esrcheck.com, call 888.999.4474, or email customerservice@esrcheck.com.

About ESR News:

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 tahearn@esrcheck.com.