EEOC sues BMW, Dollar General over background checks

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A study titled, “The Mark of a Criminal Record, published in the American Journal of Sociology found that “Whites with criminal records received more favorable treatment (17%) than Blacks without criminal records (14%) with criminal records when it came to receiving callbacks for employment opportunities.

The study also found that the Blacks were more likely than White to be asked about prior criminal history even before submitting applications.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in cooperation with The Legal Action Center, and the National Workrights Institute issued a report titled, “Best Practice Standards: The Proper Use of Criminal Records in Hiring” to help companies avoid running afoul of EEOC hiring guidelines.

The report detailed a number of recommendations and advised employers to:

- Consider only convictions and pending prosecutions;

- Consider only convictions recent enough to indicate significant risk;

- Do not ask about criminal records on application forms;

- Use a qualified consumer reporting agency (CRA) to conduct record checks; and

- Confirm all information from online databases with original source information.

The report also said that employers should consider evidence of rehabilitation when evaluating ex-offenders for future employment.

“People change over time. Some people with criminal convictions change their lives and become good citizens who can be good employees,” said the report. “Applicants with relevant convictions recent enough to be of concern should not automatically be rejected. Instead, he or she should be given the opportunity to present evidence of rehabilitation which the employer should carefully consider before making a decision.”

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