Furniture Retailer Reaches Agreement with EEOC to Revise Criminal Background Check Procedures

Criminal Background Check

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On September 24, 2018, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – the agency enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – announced it reached an agreement with furniture retailer Rooms To Go to implement revised criminal background check policies to comply with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.

The cooperative agreement was reached to resolve allegations of race discrimination raised by a black applicant whose offer of employment was rescinded by Rooms To Go’s background check policies. It acknowledges changes to Rooms To Go’s screening policies that remove blanket exclusions for criminal convictions from its policies and afford all applicants an opportunity for an individualized assessment.

The agreement also reformed Rooms To Go’s employment application by removing criminal conviction questions and postponing inquiries about criminal history until later in the hiring process to ensure that applicants are judged by their qualifications first instead of screened based on criminal history questions on the application and give them a fair chance at employment and to explain their criminal history.

In addition, Rooms To Go will provide training on its revised criminal background check procedures to the appropriate personnel. All human resource staff, along with other essential employees, will be required to take mandatory implicit bias training and annual refresher training. A press release from the EEOC about the agreement is available at www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/9-24-18.cfm.

“We obtained financial relief for the victim of discrimination and eradicated a barrier for future applicants,” EEOC Tampa Field Office Director Evangeline Hawthorne stated in a press release. “We are pleased that Rooms To Go chose to work with the EEOC to reach this conciliation agreement and that through our joint efforts we have been able to bring about real change at Rooms To Go.”

On April 25, 2012, the EEOC approved an updated ‘Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’ that has greatly impacted how employers hire in the United States. The EEOC enforcement guidance is available at www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Attorney Lester Rosen has written a white paper entitled “Practical Steps Employers Can Take to Comply with the EEOC Criminal Record Guidance” to give examples and suggestions on what employers should do to remain in compliance. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/Tools-Resources/Whitepaper-Library/EEOC-Criminal-Record-Guidance/.

EEOC Toolkit from Background Check Firm ESR

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – offers a free proprietary EEOC Toolkit available only to ESR clients that is designed to support compliance with the EEOC’s updated guidance on the use of criminal records and reduce the time and effort needed to comply with the law. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/ESR-Solutions/EEOC-Toolkit/index.php.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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