Tag Archives: Workplace discrimination

Research Suggests Ban the Box Policies May Unintentionally Harm Minority Job Seekers

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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Research on Ban the Box (BTB) policies issued in July 2016 suggests that jurisdictions in the United States that adopted Ban the Box policies preventing employers from conducting criminal background checks until late in the hiring process to improve employment opportunities for job seekers with criminal records and reduce racial disparities in the workforce may unintentionally harm minority applicants. Continue reading

Social Media Use in Workplace Raises Employment Discrimination Concerns

Written By Thomas Ahearn

home-applicant-generated-report-systemA panel of experts has told the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that the growing use of social media by employers, applicants, and employees in today’s workplace may implicate and impact the federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment that the EEOC enforces. A press release about the Social Media Commission meeting convened at EEOC Headquarters in Washington, D.C. to gather information is available at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/3-12-14.cfm. Continue reading

California Supreme Court Ruling on Discrimination Case Involving Mixed Motive May Impact Fair Employment and Housing Claims

On February 7, 2013, the California Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in a case – Harris v. City of Santa Monica – that involved the “mixed motive” theory where the employer has both legitimate and discriminatory reasons for job actions such as termination and discipline. The Court ruled an employer can defeat an employee’s claim for damages in a discrimination case by proving with a preponderance of evidence it would have terminated the employee anyway for lawful reasons.  The ruling on Harris v. City of Santa Monica is available at http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S181004A.PDF. Continue reading

EEOC Alleges Criminal Background Check Policy of Discount Retailer Violates Civil Rights Act of 1964

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – the agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – has alleged that the criminal background check policy of Dollar General Corp., one of the largest discount retailers in the U.S. with over 10,000 stores in 40 states, has a ‘disparate impact’ on African-American job candidates and employees and violates of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A full report on the story, a prime example of how criminal background checks by employers are coming under greater scrutiny by the EEOC, is available on the Nashville Business Journal website at: http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2012/09/10/dollar-generals-use-of-criminal.html. Continue reading

Department of Labor Issues Training Letter to Job Banks on New EEOC Guidance for Criminal Records

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), in conjunction with the Civil Rights Center (CRC), has issued a Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) to public Job Banks and other “covered entities” on complying with nondiscrimination provisions that include new Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Guidance on criminal record restrictions and disparate impact based on race and national origin. The ‘TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT GUIDANCE LETTER NO. 31-11’ is available at: http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/corr_doc.cfm?docn=9230. Continue reading

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Seeks Public Comment on Strategic Enforcement Plan by September 18

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – the agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – has released a draft of the EEOC Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) open for public comment until September 18, 2012.  The draft of the SEP, which will integrate all components of the EEOC’s private, public, and federal sector enforcement, is available at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/sep_public_draft.cfm. Continue reading

EEOC Reports Workplace Discrimination Charges Hit Record High of Nearly 100,000 in FY 2010

By Thomas Ahearn, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Editor

Private sector workplace discrimination charge filings with the federal U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) agency nationwide hit an unprecedented level of 99,922 during fiscal year (FY) 2010, according to an EEOC press release.

The EEOC ended FY 2010 – October 1, 2009 to Sept. 30, 2010 – with 250 lawsuits filed, 285 lawsuits resolved, and 104,999 private sector charges resolved. Overall, through enforcement, mediation, and litigation programs to promote inclusive and discrimination-free workplaces, the EEOC secured more than $404 million in monetary benefits from employers, the highest level of relief ever obtained by the agency.

According to the FY 2010 data, all major categories of charge filings in the private sector – which include charges filed against state and local governments – increased. These include charges alleging discrimination under:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended;
  • Equal Pay Act;
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act;
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and
  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

In FY 2010, retaliation under all statutes (36,258) surpassed race (35,890) as the most frequently filed charge with the EEOC for the first time ever since race had been historically the most frequently filed charge since the EEOC became operational in 1965. In addition, allegations based on religion (3,790), disability (25,165), and age (23,264) increased. In its first year of enforcement, the EEOC received 201 charges under GINA. 

The FY 2010 enforcement and litigation statistics are available online at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/index.cfm. To see EEOC Charge Statistics FY 1997 Through FY 2010, visit http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/charges.cfm.

Recently, part of the EEOC enforcement has targeted employers that may be using credit reports of job applicants for employment screening in a discriminatory manner in the eyes of the federal law. Credit checks for employment purposes have become a very controversial subject. Job applicants looking for work in a tough economy are caught in a “Catch-22” situation where they have bad credit because they cannot get a job but cannot get a job because they have bad credit. As a result, the EEOC held a public Commission meeting in October 2010 to hear testimony on the growing use of credit histories of job applicants as selection criteria during employment background screening to see if the practice is discriminatory.

However, while credit checks are one method employers may use to hire an honest and trustworthy employee that also provide some legal cover if that employee turns out to be dishonest, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) does not encourage routine credit checks on all candidates since credit checks often contain errors and can feel like an invasion of privacy to applicants. Employers should limit credit checks to relevant positions such as those that involve money. In fact, with many states recently passing laws limiting the use of credit checks for employment purposes, employers need to be careful when, to whom, and how they perform credit checks on prospective job applicants.

However, in response to seeing an increase in claims of discrimination based upon criminal records and credit reports, the EEOC began the E-RACE (Eradicating Racism And Colorism from Employment) Initiative. More recently, the EEOC filed a nationwide hiring discrimination lawsuit against a nationwide provider of postsecondary education charging the company engaged in a pattern of unlawful discrimination by refusing to hire a class of black job applicants nationwide by rejecting them based on their credit history, a practice with an unlawful discriminatory impact because of race and is neither job-related nor justified by business necessity. As a result of these practices, the company allegedly violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to the EEOC press release.

The controversy over whether employers using credit reports for employment screening is discriminatory is Trend #1 in Employment Screening Resources (ESR) Fourth Annual ‘Top Ten Trends in Background Screening’ for 2011.

To read more articles about the EEOC on ESR News, see posts Tagged ‘EEOC’ at: http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/eeoc/.

For more information about background screening, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is the company that wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. Employment Screening Resources is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). ESR was the third U.S. background check firm to be ‘Safe Harbor’ Certified for data privacy protection. To learn more about ESR’s Leadership, Resources, and Solutions, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Sources:
http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/1-11-11.cfm