EEOC Scrutinizing Hiring Practices that Unfairly Screen out Job Applicants with Criminal Records

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is scrutinizing hiring practices and believes policies that screen out job applicants with criminal records could disadvantage minorities and lead to lawsuits, according to the article ‘Ex-Convict Hire Hurdle Draws U.S. Suits Against Employers.’ The EEOC has been enforcing employment discrimination laws with lawsuits and Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and CEO of background check firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR), believes this is “going to be an issue that employers need to wrap their heads around” this year. The article is available on Bloomberg.com at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-31/ex-convict-hire-hurdle-draws-u-s-suits-against-employers.html.

On April 25, 2012, the EEOC – which enforces laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age in the workforce –   issued its ‘Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.’ The EEOC Guidance sees “blanket” policies against hiring former criminals as having a discriminatory effect based on race and violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employers cannot make hiring decisions solely based on criminal history since doing so has “disparate impact” on minorities so they must prove it is a “business necessity.” The EEOC Guidance is available at http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm.

The article on Bloomberg.com cites figures based on a Pew Research analysis of Bureau of Justice Statistics data that show African-American lack were imprisoned at more than six times the rate of white men in 2010 while Hispanic men were imprisoned at about 2.6 times the rate of white males. In addition, “the U.S. population of former inmates has swelled after incarceration rates more than tripled over the past three decades. Meanwhile, job seekers outnumber openings 2.7 to 1, making it easier for employers to pass up marred resumes.” The analysis from Pew Research is available at http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/08/22/kings-dream-remains-an-elusive-goal-many-americans-see-racial-disparities/4/#incarceration-rate.

The EEOC has authority to investigate employment discrimination violations and file lawsuits. To help employers comply with the new EEOC Guidance on criminal records, three national civil and workers’ rights organizations have developed a report titled ‘Best Practice Standards: The Proper Use of Criminal Records in Hiring.’ This best practices report was prepared by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the National H.I.R.E. Network, and the National Workrights Institute in conjunction with two background screening firms, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) and the CARCO Group. The report is available online at http://www.scribd.com/doc/142787063/Best-Practices-Standards-The-Proper-Use-of-Criminal-Records-in-Hiring.

In addition, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) offers a complimentary whitepaper titled ‘Practical Steps Employers Can Take to Comply with New EEOC Criminal Record Guidance’ to help employers better understand how to properly use criminal records of job applicants during the hiring process. The whitepaper is available to employers interested in safe hiring at http://www.esrcheck.com/Stay-Updated/Download/. For more information about Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a nationwide background screening firm accredited by ‘The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – visit http://www.esrcheck.com/, call Toll Free 888.999.4474, or email sales@esrcheck.com.

About Employment Screening Resources® (ESR):

Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in the San Francisco, CA-area 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, call toll free 888.999.4474, or email sales@esrcheck.com.