State Attorneys General Fight Back Against EEOC

Jason Morris

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

In an interesting turn of events, nine State Attorneys General are fighting back against the EEOC Criminal Record Guidance.  These states include; West Virginia, Montana, Alabama, Nebraska, Colorado, South Carolina, Georgia, Utah and Kansas.   It seems their reactions are directly tied to the Dollar General and BMW suits filed by the EEOC last month.  The letter goes as far to say; “We believe that these lawsuits and your application of the law, as articulated through your enforcement guidance, are misguided and a quintessential example of gross federal overreach.”

I am actually surprised by this letter.  I am surprised that ONLY nine states decided to participate.  To me, one of the most troubling aspects of the new guidance is the safe harbor and preemption of federal statues that regulate what criminal records can and can’t be used.  The guidance is pretty clear that this safe harbor only applies to federal mandates and excludes state law. What does this mean? Well if the federal law says you can’t hire someone with (insert example) record, you are safe, but if state law says you can’t hire someone with <Insert better example> you are left twisting in the wind!  So ladies and gentleman, as far as the EEOC is concerned, you are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. This, in my humble opinion, is the area all states should be screaming about! OK, end of rant, back to the letter…

The letter focuses on four key areas that the State AG’s believe the EEOC has overstepped.  These areas are:

  • An Attack on Criminal Background Checks in the Hiring Process
  • Unlawful Expansion of Title VII
  • A Burden on Business
  • And, a pleading to reconsider their guidance and dismiss the lawsuits

The good news about these suits is that it could be the first real test of the guidance.  We have said it since last April, unfortunately, there will be some legal actions but the courts interpretations could help in the future!

A full copy of the letter can be found by clicking here:

For more information on the guidance and, or how to apply it to your background screening process, please contact EmployeeScreenIQ today.

 Watch our video on the recent EEOC Guidance for more information:

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Jason Morris

President & Chief Operating Officer at EmployeeScreenIQ
A veteran screening and risk management professional, Jason Morris founded EmployeeScreenIQ in 1999 and acts as the company’s chief operating officer and president. Morris is a frequent speaker delivering captivating, interactive discussions on background checks, global screening, recruitment and staffing. He educates audiences in best practice initiatives as they relate to organizational employment screening programs. Morris has been quoted in numerous business and industry publications including The Wall Street Journal,, USA Today, New York Times, among others. He is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.
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