EEOC Continues to Scrutinize Criminal Record Screening Policies

October 08, 2018

Employers that use criminal record-screening policies must continue to be vigilant about compliance with all applicable laws and should know that the scrutiny of such policies has continued. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has demonstrated a continued interest in discouraging employers from directly or indirectly screening out job applicants who belong to protected classes under Title VII and tend to be arrested and convicted at disproportionately higher rates. The EEOC recently reached a conciliation agreement with a nationwide retailer to resolve claims of race discrimination brought by an African-American applicant whose offer of employment was rescinded due to his background check. The EEOC’s view is that background check policies tend to have a discriminatory effect on minorities, because they are disproportionately incarcerated and therefore make up the larger percentage of the population with criminal records. We recommend all employers have their Employee Handbook reviewed on an annual basis by SESCO to ensure compliance with all federal and state requirements.