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You might recall last August that we posted about celebrated Judge Roger Titus’ stinging comments directed at the EEOC when he dismissed their case against Freeman Companies   for what the commission alleged as discriminatory hiring practices related to Freeman’s use of  criminal background checks  and  credit reports . He used the words  …

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Congressional Committee Report

On November 24, 2014, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (H.E.L.P.) issued a scathing report, taking the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) to task for a laundry list of egregious tactics. The report’s title sums it up nicely: EEOC: An Agency on the Wrong Track? Litigation Failures, Misfocused Priorities, and Lack of Transparency Raise Concerns about Important Anti-Discrimination Agency

The Report

The Senate H.E.L.P. Committee Report doesn’t pull any punches. Inside are key findings of questionable practices and litigation failures by the EEOC. The report criticizes the agency’s sketchy litigation tactics, its practice of filing suit without a commission vote, questionable discovery requests, the lack of cooperation with defense counsel and a failure to conciliate. It points out that the EEOC has been ordered to pay sanctions and attorney’s fees ten times since 2011, and it has been “openly chastised” by the courts. The report also slams the EEOC for a lack of transparency, citing the dearth of reports from the General Counsel’s office, the practice of introducing guidance without public comment, and failure to respond to F.O.I.A. requests.

The report includes a chart listing the ten cases where the EEOC has been ordered to pay sanctions over the past four years. The list includes the Peoplemark case, which involved disparate impact claims based on the company’s background screening policies.

To sum it up, the report asserts that the EEOC’s tactics are ineffective, burdensome, and are costing taxpayers too much money.

A few of the specific complaints contained in the executive summary of the publication are as follows: [...]

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FTC EEOC Guide

If there’s one part of the hiring process when the candidate experience can blow up, it’s the background check. The idea of a background check is daunting for most people—even those with a clean record. If a candidate is rejected as a result of something in the background check, it is increasingly common to hear from their legal representative. One way employers can avoid problems in the background screening process is to educate job applicants. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. [...]

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EEOC

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a press release this week announcing it reached a settlement with a background screening company over the company’s pre-employment screening services. According to the press release, the company is a consumer reporting agency (CRA), that “screens applicants for hundreds of companies nationwide.”

The agreement requires the company to change its website, screening policies, and training procedures to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Genetic Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), and anti-retaliation laws. The underlying concern was that an investigation into an applicant’s medical history, history of personal injury, or workers compensation claims would be used by prospective employers to discriminate against the applicant.

If anyone wondered whether the EEOC would eventually extend its reach to CRAs, that question has been answered. The press release quotes Janet Elizondo, director of the EEOC’s Dallas District Office:

“It is important for the EEOC to engage, not only with employers directly, but also with their business partners who play an important role in facilitating connections between jobs and job seekers.”

Background screening companies take note, the EEOC is watching.




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Compliance Employment Background Checks

For those interested in staying up-to-date with the latest in compliance for pre-employment background screening and the laws that affect your use of employment background checks, follow our publication, BTW: Your Guide to Staying Out of Hot Water. This compliance resource has been created by our VP of Compliance and General Counsel, Angela Preston, and is a must-read for human resources and security professionals.

Building a Smarter Sharing Economy with Background Checks

It’s nice to share. At least that’s what we learned as kids. But for some people, sharing is more than just nice—it’s a way to make a buck. I’m talking about the sharing economy, which Forbes estimates at $3.5 billion this year, with growth exceeding 25%. Read More

Employers’ Hands are Tied: New Washington D.C. Law Goes Beyond Ban the Box

With over a year of debate and some last minute amendments, the District of Columbia’s Council passed a ban-the-box law that includes its own unique list of considerations before an employer can withdraw an offer of employment based on criminal history. Read More

Congress Criticizes the EEOC’s Policy on Background Checks

Congress is showing signs of life in the constant fight for employers to conduct reasonable background checks. Representative Tim Walberg, R, Mich., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, held the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s feet to the fire in a hearing on September 17, 2014. Read More



 

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EEOC Policy on Background Checks

Congress is showing signs of life in the constant fight for employers to conduct reasonable background checks. Representative Tim Walberg, R, Mich., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, held the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s feet to the fire in a hearing on September 17, 2014. The hearing focused on three recently introduced bills aimed to increase the accountability and transparency of the EEOC and to offer employers limited protections in the use of criminal history. [...]

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BMW Questions EEOC Background Screening Practices

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Or so thinks BMW, who has asked a federal court to compel the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to produce documents relating to any policy, guideline, standard or practice used by the workplace bias watchdog in weighing the criminal conviction records of applicants looking to work for the agency.

The Case

You might recall that EEOC is suing BMW Manufacturing Co. LLC for their use over their use of criminal background checks in hiring which they allege discriminate against minorities. Here’s a quick recap. [...]

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Jenny-Yang-EEOC

Jaqueline Berrien is leaving Washington and her post as the Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Insert your own emoticon here. President Obama announced today that she’ll be replaced by Vice Chair, Jenny Yang. Congratulations are in order for Yang, who is the first Asian-American to chair the agency.

Yang was the favorite to replace Berrien when she was appointed Vice Chair in 2014—just one year after her appointment to the Commission. Yang’s term expires July 1, 2017. Yang is known for her work in the non-profit sector as well as her work as a litigator and partner with Washington-based plaintiff law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll P.L.L.C where she represented employees. Her firm Cohen Milstein represented workers in the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. gender discrimination litigation. [...]

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Judge: Texas Can't Sue EEOC for Criminal Background Check Guidance

Yesterday, a federal judge ruled that the state of Texas cannot challenge the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) guidance on criminal background checks because the state is not presently at risk of being penalized for refusing to adopt the policy. You might recall that this suit was filed last November by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a legal action which challenged the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) “enforcement guidance” that limits the use of criminal records during the hiring process.  

Those who conduct employment background checks should read on to learn why this case was so important, but why you shouldn’t despair over the ruling. [...]

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Nearly 600 human resources professionals opened up to EmployeeScreenIQ about how they use employment background checks to make hiring decisions and their candid feedback is detailed in our just-released, fifth annual survey of U.S. based employers. The new report looks at how companies manage the process of employment screening, their practices concerning Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) guidance, candidates’ self-disclosure of criminal records and how they address adverse findings.

In the past few years, the EmployeeScreenIQ Trends Survey has become a benchmark many employers use to evaluate their background screening policies and practices. This year’s survey provides a unique cross-section of opinions and insights from an assortment of organizations and is a must-read for HR professionals that want to learn about what their industry peers are doing.

Today, we’d like to analyze how employers are adapting to the 2012 EEOC guidance on employers’ use of criminal background checks. [...]

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