Denver Business Journal: EEOC’s criminal background check policy under fire

Todd Fredrickson writes:

“Race discrimination, federal administrative power, state law, and the right of a private company to choose its employees are colliding in a battle being fought in Congress, our courts of law, and the court of public opinion.

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is trying to curtail private companies’ use of criminal background checks on job applicants, claiming this application metric violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. On April 25, 2012, the EEOC issued new guidance, recommending “individualized assessment” of each applicant, and identifying a “business necessity” for denying employment to an applicant with a criminal history.

But in the past several weeks, the EEOC’s efforts have met a string of defeats and challenges. Federal courts are not falling in line with the EEOC’s contention that a company’s use of criminal background checks in assessing applicants necessarily results in discrimination against African American males, simply because the group experiences a statistically higher rate of criminal convictions than Caucasians.”

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