Skip to comments.EEOC Issues Job Guidelines That Limit Background Checks
Posted on 05/11/2012 5:58:42 AM PDT by YourAdHere
WASHINGTON (NNPA) The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued updated recommendations that urge employers not to misuse criminal background checks in filling job openings.
By a vote of 4-1 last week, the commissioners noted that African-Americans and Latinos may find it more difficult to find employment because of the widespread use of background checks. Arrest and incarceration rates are particularly high for African-American and Hispanic men, the EEOC report stated. African Americans and Hispanics are arrested at a rate that is 2 to 3 times their proportion of the general population. Assuming that current incarnation rates remain unchanged, about 1 in 17 White men are expected to serve time in prison during their lifetime; by contrast, this rate climbs to 1 in 6 for Hispanic men; and 1 in 3 for African-American men.
Those numbers have increased as the proportion of Americans who have had contact with the criminal justice system has risen over the past two decades. According to the EEOC report, only 1.8 percent of the adult U.S. population in 1991 had served time in prison. By 2001, that figure had risen to 2.7 percent and to 3.2 percent (1 in every 31) by the end of 2007. If that trend continues, 6.6 percent of all persons in the United States born in 2001 will serve time in a state or federal prison during their lifetimes.
Using background checks to screen job applicants especially for jobs that are not in such sensitive areas such as banking or law enforcement could have an intended effect of discriminating against people of color. An employers use of an individuals criminal history in making employment decisions may, in some instances, violate the prohibition against employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1965, as amended, the EEOC report states.
Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. A covered employer is liable for violating Title VII when the plaintiff demonstrates that the employers neutral policy or practice has the effect of disproportionately screening out a Title VII-protected group and the employer fails to demonstrate that the policy or practice is job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity, the report observed.
The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which has ongoing projects aimed at eliminating the overuse of criminal background and credit checks in employment, praised the EEOCs new guidances.
The use of arrest records, including arrests that occurred decades earlier or had not resulted in convictions, to screen people applying for jobs contributes significantly to the unemployment of African American, Latinos and Native Americans, said Executive Director Barbara R. Arwine.
NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said, The Equal Opportunity Employment Commissions decision will help balance the playing field for job applicants with a criminal history. Our criminal justice system is deeply biased against people of color, and that disparity can carry over to the job search. These guidelines will discourage employers from discriminating against applicants who have paid their debt to society.
Arwine said the EEOC needs to take additional action to level the jobs playing field. She said, We will also continue to urge the EEOC to issue long awaited guidance on the misuse of credit history to deny employment, a practice which falls most heavily on minorities and the unemployed.
The EEOC noted that 92 percent of companies run criminal background checks on some or all job applicants. Such information is easily attainable, either from third-party suppliers or a check of the Internet. Information about federal crimes such as interstate drug trafficking, financial fraud, bank robbery, and crimes against the government may be found online in federal court records by searching the federal courts Public Access to Court Electronic Records or Case Management/Electronic Case Files, the report said.
The FBIs extensive record system can be accessed for employment purposes by those seeking jobs in banking, nursing homes, securities, nuclear energy, security guards, transportation, federal agencies and other sensitive areas.
A major problem with these records, according to EEOC, is that half of the entries do not contain final disposition of cases. Therefore, a person could have been charged with a crime and acquitted, yet that wouldnt be reflected in the data bases.
A similar problem exists with state records.
Even if a person has committed a crime in the past, the EEOC noted, employers should look at the nature of the crime, the time elapsed and the nature of the job held or being sought. We salute the EEOCs bipartisan effort to update its guidelines to ensure that employers are not unfairly excluding otherwise qualified applicants from the job market, said Debo Adegbile, Acting president and director-counsel NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. No one should be penalized for the rest of their life for mistakes that they made in the past. Our whole nation benefits when we open up opportunities for people who are willing and able to become contributing members of our society.
We know where this is headed
IF YOU CAN'T DO THE TIME, DON'T DO THE CRIME
‘Cause it’s already half there?
If the applicant claims at least 1/32 minority, no background check will be allowed?
"QUIT BREAKING THE LAW A**HOLE!!"
What happened to encouraging people (black, white, white Hispanic, black Hispanic, Asian, etc.) to keep their records clean?
It is illogical to expect employers not to use all of the information available to them, both for their own sake and the sakes of their customers.
What a bunch of BS....We are living in BRA ..... Look it up. America run (and run into the ground) for the benefit of minorities. By the way the DC Federal government is heavily black, way past any affirmative action guidelines. It also swarming with gays...they love those pointless Federale jobs. It’s a bastion of lesbianism too. They love it!!
Just keep paying your taxes suckers!!!!
When I saw the title. my first thought was the semi truth/semi satire. Then I looked for the source and asked when did the Onion change their name?
OK, after reading the entire article, I have to say I agree. Employers should be looking for a conviction, not just an arrest. Remember Romney’s arrest for putting his boat in the water? I think the conviction should matter.....what happens when we get arrested under the new rules for protesting too close to the President? Even if no charges or conviction follows, that would not be on the records they are searching.
I don't actually think these organizations have a plan, they just have a psychological need to be quoted saying something stupid and crazy. For tenure-track professors at elite colleges, it's "Publish or perish." For the NAACP, it's "Hold a press conference or no sucker's gonna write a check this week."
That law could work, only if the EEOC takes responsibility for any crimes which are then committed by those with records which employers were supposed to ignore or never saw.
So, if a criminal were to, say, steal from a company, and the employer had been required to ignore that crime record, then the EEOC should become liable for the theft and the inconvenience which is caused the company/employer. Also, if a criminal were to pull out a weapon and murder of few of his fellow co-workers, the law should allow the EEOC to be named as the co-conspirator in the commission of that crime.
>> We know where this is headed
Yep, towards hiring only family, friends, and direct referrals with no job postings whatsoever to attract EEOC attention.
If they *really* want to screw blacks and hispanics, employment-wise, in addition to this nonsense they should raise the minimum wage again.
No S##$ Sherlock?
It couldn't be because they commit a dis-proportionate number of crimes, and we STILL are not allowed to suspect them of wrong-doing, even though they a 4x more likely to be up to no good?
Oh yeah.....that's "Racial Profiling", as opposed to what is ACTUALLY Probable Cause.
Makes about as much sense as saying we shouldn’t track and arrest illegal aliens because so many will be hispanic (or whatever the word of the day is for Guacamolean).
OK, after reading the entire article, I have to say I agree. Employers should be looking for a conviction, not just an arrest. Remember Romneys arrest for putting his boat in the water? I think the conviction should matter.....what happens when we get arrested under the new rules for protesting too close to the President? Even if no charges or conviction follows, that would not be on the records they are searching.
Background checks are usually not conducted without the consent and knowledge of the potential employee.
Knowing this, if an applicant has had some sort of “misunderstanding” with law enforcement in his or her past, it would be in their best interest to divulge it in the initial interview. An innocent person would have no qualms about doing so.