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EEOC continues to focus on employers’ criminal record check policies

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)’s Strategic Enforcement Plan for Fiscal Years 2017-2021 refers to “Eliminating Systemic Barriers in Recruitment and Hiring” (e.g., use of “screening tools” and “background screens”) and notes this as one of the agency’s “National Priorities” for the next several years, according to the law firm Littler Mendelson, P.C.

In April 2012, the EEOC updated its enforcement guidance on the consideration of arrest and conviction history in employment decisions. The EEOC emphasizes that the exclusions based on criminal history should be job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.

Several cases filed by the EEOC since 2012 – such as a still ongoing case filed in 2013 against discount chain Dollar General – highlight the Commission’s resolve to continue litigating background-check related cases.

As a result of the EEOC’s continued focus on criminal record check policies, employers should continue to review their background check policies to ensure they are consistent with the EEOC guidance. 

Source: Littler Mendelson P.C., 12/21/2017

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