Pepsi Settles with the EEOC for Background Screening Practices

Nick Fishman

It was just announced that Pepsi Beverages will pay $3.13 million to settle a lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over alleged discriminatory background screening practices.

The case centered around Pepsi’s policy to not hire applicants on a permanent basis whose background checks revealed an arrest that did not lead to conviction for positions at their factory.  In particular, the EEOC said that 300 black applicants were denied permanent employment due to arrests that did not lead to convictions.  The policy was deemed discriminatory because there was “reasonable cause to believe that the criminal background check policy formerly used by Pepsi discriminated against African Americans in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

Personally, I wish this case didn’t solely focus on minorities.  After all, I have to believe that white applicants were treated the same way.  It’s like saying that the policy would have been fine had they not attempted to hire minorities.

Using arrest records that didn’t lead to convictions is a tough policy to enforce, especially when it is a blanket policy, but it is permissible (please consult with your legal counsel for more on this).  This case underscores the need for employers to take a close look at their background screening standards and to align non-hireable convictions (or arrests) with the responsibility of the job itself.

Nick Fishman
Follow Me

Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
Follow Me
Tweet
Share
Email
Share
  • Brad

    This disgusts me! I am a business owner and I do not want convicted criminals working for me either. Now we are being told that the Constitution protects CONVICTED CRIMINALS in regards to employment? WHAT? What is this country coming to? Where are we going? If Pepsico discriminated against blacks, then throw the book at them – but to find against Pepsico in this ruling is absurd! Not to mention that, according to what I have read, this settlement will be paid out to blacks that were not afforded the opportunity of a job because of this policy. So the whites that were also left out because of this policy don’t get part of the settlement? Yet again, completely ABSURD! It is time that the black community in this country QUIT claiming discrimination about anything and everything! Sure, discrimination still exists – from both sides mind you, but if you are a CONVICTED CRIMINAL and a company doesn’t want to hire you then you should look elsewhere for employment, like, say the EEOC! Maybe they would hire you but I doubt it!

  • Pingback: Ryan Braun Situation Makes for Interesting Case Study | EmployeeScreenIQ Blog()

  • Pingback: The New EEOC Guidance in a Nutshell | EmployeeScreenIQ Blog()