A report from Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia, PA titled ‘EEOC’s Criminal Record Guidance One Year Later: Lessons from the Community’ examines employer compliance with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ‘Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’ released on April 25, 2012. The complete report by Sharon M. Dietrich, Managing Attorney of CLS, is available at http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/1624843/1552763922/name/EEOC%20CHR%20guidance%20one%20year%20later%20-%20policy%20paper.pdf.
The report from CLS, the city’s largest provider of free legal services, shares their experience with respect to the EEOC Guidance as they “represent many hundreds of people whose criminal records (including non-convictions) present an employment barrier” and also “have seen how a large and broad set of employers has responded to the Guidance.” The CLS offers the report as a “snapshot with the hope that it can inform evaluation of the importance and the outcomes of the Guidance, including employer compliance, after a year.” The report found that:
- The EEOC Guidance is extremely important to the approximately 28 percent of the adult population that has a criminal record presenting “an intractable employment barrier.”
- While there is hope that these people’s employment prospects have brightened as many employers have attempted to comply with the Guidance, the CLS has examples of employers, including major national companies with workforces in the tens of thousands, that have not.
- Employers that are over-broadly rejecting people with criminal records from their applicant pools are eliminating a large percentage of the labor force and depriving themselves of excellent job candidates.
The report notes that CLS’s experience since the EEOC Guidance was implemented reveals “plenty of room for improvement” since they have seen “blatant violations, by both small businesses and national companies employing tens of thousands, of the clear principles of the Guidance, not nuanced cases where lines between what is legal and what is not are blurry.” The following examples are used:
- Rejections because of arrests not resulting in convictions.
- Rejections because of minor offenses.
- Rejections because of blanket bans.
- Rejections of employees with successful track records.
- Rejections because of old convictions.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination and filed two lawsuits in June 2013 that challenged criminal background exclusions under Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The updated EEOC Guidance on criminal records is available at http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm.
Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), has written a whitepaper titled ‘Practical Steps Employers Can Take to Comply with New EEOC Criminal Record Guidance’ to help employers understand criminal background checks. The complimentary whitepaper is available to employers by emailing EEOCwhitepaper@esrcheck.com. For information about ESR, a nationwide screening provider accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®), visit http://www.esrcheck.com or call toll free 888.999.4474.
About Employment Screening Resources® (ESR):
Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’– 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 about ESR, visit http://www.esrcheck.com or call toll free 888.999.4474.
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