In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has upheld the award of $751,942 in fees and costs to Peoplemark, Inc. against the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after the company refuted the EEOC’s claim that they allegedly violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by having a “blanket policy” of denying jobs to applicants with criminal records that discriminated against minorities. The opinion of the Courts of Appeals in EEOC v. Peoplemark, Inc., No. 11-2582 (Oct. 7, 2013) is available at http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/13a0291p-06.pdf.
As reported by ESR News in April 2011, a federal court in Michigan ordered the EEOC to pay $751,942.48 for attorneys’ fees, expert fees, and court costs to Peoplemark, a staffing company headquartered in Kentucky. In 2008, the EEOC had filed a class action lawsuit against Peoplemark alleging that the company violated Title VII by adopting a blanket policy of refusing to hire job applicants with felony records that had a “disparate impact” on minority groups such as African Americans and Hispanics. After the EEOC was unable to prove Peoplemark had a blanket policy and dismissed its case, the company filed a motion for Fees, Costs, and Sanctions for the costs incurred in defending the case.
The EEOC enforces Title VII which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. In April 25, 2012, the EEOC 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 case of EEOC v. Peoplemark, Inc. is another example of the EEOC pursuing claims of discrimination against employers that use criminal background checks to screen job applicants. Employers that conduct criminal background checks on job applicants need to be aware of the updated EEOC Guidance available at http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm.
Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) and author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual,’ has written a whitepaper titled ‘Practical Steps Employers Can Take to Comply with New EEOC Criminal Record Guidance’ that is available to employers by emailing [email protected]. For information about Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), a nationwide screening provider accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®), visit https://www.esrcheck.com or call Toll Free 888.999.4474.
About Employment Screening Resources® (ESR):
Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Lester Rosen 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. Founder and 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. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. For more information about ESR, visit https://www.esrcheck.com or call Toll Free 888.999.4474.
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