Commission on Civil Rights Report Examines Effects of EEOC Guidance on Criminal Background Checks

Written By Thomas Ahearn

A briefing report released by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) – ‘Assessing the Impact of Criminal Background Checks and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Conviction Records Policy’ – examines the effects of the EEOC’s updated Guidance policy on the use of conviction records by employers on African-American and Latino job applicants. The complete report – in which some members of the civil rights panel argue that the EEOC’s guidelines are flawed and vague – is available at http://www.eusccr.com/EEOC_final_2013.pdf.

According to a Washington Times story about the 350-page report, some USCCR members say the EEOC “is, in the interest of fighting racism, engaging in bureaucratic overreach and making it harder for businesses to avoid hiring felons.” The report also argues the EEOC’s language and arguments “put employers in a no-win situation regarding lawsuits – either they will be sued for racism if they use background checks or be held accountable for ex-felons’ on-the-job actions if they don’t.” The story is available at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/feb/20/eeoc-report-discourages-background-checks-name-hel/.

On April 25, 2012, the EEOC – the agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – updated 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 Guidance warns businesses conducting criminal background checks of job applicants could be exposed to racial discrimination claims since any employment policy unfairly ruling out people with a criminal history “disproportionally affects racial and ethnic minorities, particularly black or Hispanic with criminal records nationwide.” The updated EEOC Guidance is available at http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm.

“The EEOC Guidance on the use of criminal records in hiring decisions carries the potential to impact the hiring processes of every employer in the United States in 2014 and beyond,” according to Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR). To help employers better understand how to properly use criminal records of job applicants during the hiring process, Rosen has written a whitepaper titled ‘Practical Steps Employers Can Take to Comply with New EEOC Criminal Record Guidance.’ The complimentary whitepaper about the EEOC Guidance is available on the ESR website at http://www.esrcheck.com/Stay-Updated/Download/.

About Employment Screening Resources® (ESR):

Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Lester 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. ESR provides Effortless Legal Compliance, Proven Expertise, Less Work/Lower Cost, Results You Can Trust, and Painless Migration. 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.

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 “Ban the Box,” 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.