More Reaction to EEOC Criminal Background Check Guidelines
June 5, 2012
It’s been a little over a month since the EEOC introduced new guidelines on the use of criminal records for employers and so far the general reaction we are hearing from the marketplace is confusion. Some examples:
- Do I need to remove the question that asks if the applicant has been convicted of a crime?
- What is an individual assessment?
- What kind of process and paperwork is this now going to require?
Well, we still don’t have any substantive answers, but we are keeping our ears and eyes open for interesting opinions on the subject.
Check out this essay written by Hans von Spakovsky of The Heritage Foundation entitled, “The Dangerous Impact of Barring Criminal Background Checks: Congress Needs to Overrule the EEOC’s New Employment “Guidelines”.
Now, I’ll preface this by saying that the Heritage Foundation is definitely a conservative think tank and that I considered not posting this for that fact (that and Rush Limbaugh is on their home page). However, this essay is being picked up by a number of media outlets throughout the country. So, I’ll leave it up to you to determine if this is politically motivated or a genuine attempt to highlight a counter argument to the EEOC’s position (or both).
The author is a former counsel to the assistant attorney general for Civil Rights and the Department of Justice. And his contention that the EEOC’s goal to eradicate a disparate impact on minorities in this regard could actually lead to overt discrimination is eerily similar to the warning issued by U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner, Peter Kirsanow.
I’m posting the abstract from the essay below.
Abstract: The EEOC’s new criminal background check “Enforcement Guidance” is potentially unlawful and certainly ill advised. In addition to lowering minority hiring rates and exposing employers to crushing liability, this new Guidance places employers in a vicious “Catch 22” situation: Business owners will have to choose between conducting criminal background checks and risking liability for supposedly violating Title VII or following the EEOC’s Guidance, abandoning background checks, and risking liability for criminal conduct by employees. Furthermore, failing to conduct such background checks places the public at risk, as violent offenders might go for years before lashing out at customers or co-workers. The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have already taken some actions to stop enforcement of this Guidance, but more is needed.