Tag Archives: Criminal records

EEOC Guidance on Criminal Records Focuses on Employment Discrimination during Background Checks

In April 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – the agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – voted to update the Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The updated Guidance, which focuses on employment discrimination based on race and national origin, is available at http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm. Continue reading

New Indiana Law Allowing Expungement of Old Criminal Records Takes Effect July 1

A new law in Indiana that takes effect July 1, 2013 – Indiana House Enrolled Act No. 1482 – will allow state residents to have certain old criminal records “expunged” or erased by the courts and could create job opportunities for ex-offenders. Signed into law by Governor Mike Pence in May 2013, this “second chance” law applies to both employers based in Indiana and those who hire workers in the state. The full text of the new law is available at http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2013/HE/HE1482.1.html. Continue reading

EEOC Chair Says Criminal Background Checks by Employers Not Banned

In a letter to the Wall Street Journal responding to the June 15, 2013 article ‘Banning Background Checks,’ Jacqueline A. Berrien, Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), denied the article’s suggestion that the EEOC believes criminal background checks by employers are “racist” and that the agency wants to ban the practice. The letter to the Wall Street Journal from Chair Berrien is available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323893504578555722405188406.html. Continue reading

New Texas Law Protects Employers Performing Background Checks and Encourages Employment of Ex-Offenders

A new law in Texas – H.B. 1188 – signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 14, 2013 will amend the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code so that “a cause of action may not be brought against an employer, general contractor, premises owner, or other third party solely for negligently hiring or failing to adequately supervise an employee, based on evidence that the employee has been convicted of an offense.” More information about Texas H.B. 1188, which will become effective on September 1, 2013, is available at http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB1188. Continue reading

EEOC Sends Message to Employers that Criminal Records of Job Applicants Must Be Used Carefully

In the Wall Street Journal article ‘Employment Checks Fuel Race Complaints,’ Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of background check company Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), says the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been delivering the same message to employers since the 1980s: “Criminal records need to be used carefully, not with brute force, more as a surgical instrument.” The article, which catalogues the increased scrutiny of background checks by the EEOC, is available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323495604578539283518855020.html. Continue reading

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Files Lawsuits against Two Employers for Use of Criminal Background Checks

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed lawsuits against two employers alleging they violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by implementing and utilizing a criminal background check policy that resulted in employees being fired or screened out for employment. A press release about the lawsuits – the first enforcement action against employers under the revised EEOC Guidance for using criminal records – is available at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/6-11-13.cfm. Continue reading

Seattle City Council Passes Job Assistance Bill Prohibiting Automatic Exclusion of Applicants with Criminal Records

In a unanimous 9-0 vote, the Seattle City Council has passed a Job Assistance Bill to reduce criminal recidivism by providing job assistance to individuals with previous criminal records. Council Bill 117796 will prohibit public and private employers in Seattle from automatically excluding individuals with any arrest or conviction record from consideration for employment. A news release about the passing of the Job Assistance Bill – which will take effect November 1, 2013 if approved by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn as expected – is available at http://www.seattle.gov/news/newsdetail_council.asp?ID=13721. Continue reading

Delaware Bill Would Prohibit Employers from Considering Criminal Record and Credit History of Applicants before Job Offer

Lawmakers in Delaware have introduced legislation – House Bill No. 167 – that would prohibit public employers in the state from considering the criminal record or credit history of an applicant before making a conditional job offer. The bill would also restrict the authority of state and local government agencies to conduct criminal background checks on potential new hires. The full text of House Bill No. 167 is available at http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis147.nsf/vwLegislation/HB+167/$file/legis.html?open. Continue reading

North Carolina Expunged Criminal Record Bill Signed Into Law

In May of 2013, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed legislation – Senate Bill 91, Prohibit Expunction Inquiry – that will prohibit employers or educational institutions from requesting that job applicants provide information regarding arrests, criminal charges, or criminal convictions that have been expunged. The full text of the ratified North Carolina Senate Bill 91, most of which takes effect December 1, 2013, is available at http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2013/Bills/Senate/PDF/S91v5.pdf. Continue reading

Buffalo Council Bans the Box Asking Job Seekers about Criminal Convictions on Applications

The Common Council in Buffalo, New York has voted to “Ban the Box” and make it illegal for employers in the city to ask job seekers if they have been convicted of crimes on applications, according to a story on The Buffalo News website. The Ban the Box measure now heads to Mayor Byron W. Brown for his signature to become law. Continue reading