EEOC Files Discrimination Case Over Background Checks
December 4, 2009
We’re a little late to the party on this one, but we just learned that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against Freeman Companies saying that they have “engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination by refusing to hire a class of black, Hispanic, and male job applicants across the United States.”
They’ve arrived at there position because, “Freeman has rejected job applicants based on their credit history and if they have had one or more of various types of criminal charges or convictions. This practice has an unlawful discriminatory impact because of race, national origin, and sex, and is neither job-related nor justified by business necessity, the EEOC charged in its lawsuit.”
There is a lot that is being left unsaid here. We met with the EEOC in March and they specifically said that they were not opposed to background checks and employment screening. They were mainly concerned about “bright-line” hiring decisions that had a disparate impact on minorities. Therefore, it is my assumption that there is more to the suit than the fact that Freeman conducted background checks and made some adverse hiring decisions.
We’ll follow this case as information becomes available and report our findings.
Just our $.02. Employers need to weigh each instance of adverse information on its own merits to determine job relatedness, seriousness of offenses or transgressions, how long ago the activity took place and whether the person is a habitual offender.