EEOC Settles Lawsuit Over Record Keeping of Criminal Background Checks

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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

A nationwide provider of janitorial and facilities management services will adopt significant changes to its record-keeping practices related to the use of criminal background checks to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), according to an EEOC press release.

The EEOC lawsuit claimed Wayne, Pennsylvania-based Crothall Services Group, Inc., was using criminal background checks to make hiring decisions without making and keeping required records that disclose the impact criminal history assessments have on persons identifiable by race, sex, or ethnic group.

Failure to make and keep such records violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects individuals from discrimination in employment because of race, sex, national origin, color, or religion, including certain employment practices that have a disparate impact on employees in protected groups.

Title VII – and record-keeping regulations found in the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (UGESP) – require employers to maintain records disclosing the impact their selection procedures have upon employment opportunities of persons identifiable by race, sex, or ethnic group.

The EEOC filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. On June 28, 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Anita B. Brody held that the UGESP record-keeping regulation is mandatory. On December 16, 2016, Judge Brody entered the consent decree settling the lawsuit.

The consent decree requires Crothall Services Group to keep records identifying the gender, race, and ethnicity of people undergoing criminal background checks, records of criminal history information, results of any criminal history assessment, and employment decisions made based on assessments.

The decree further requires record keeping relating to complaints about Crothall’s use of criminal history information and assessments, including complaints of discrimination, and regular reporting to the EEOC, the agency responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.

The case is Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Crothall Services Group, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-03812-AB. The press release entitled “Consent Decree Entered In EEOC Record-Keeping Suit against Crothall Services Group” is at www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/12-16-16a.cfm.

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