EEOC does not have to disclose background check policies, says federal court

it brought against Dollar General and BMW Manufacturing late last year, the EEOC argued that the companies’ hiring practices screened out minority candidates disproportionately, violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. When Dollar General and BMW requested to see how the EEOC’s own hiring and background screening policies differed from their own, the EEOC balked and said their policies were not relevant to either of the lawsuits. When we last covered this issue, a South Carolina District Court judge had demanded that the EEOC turn over its hiring practices in order to proceed with its case against Dollar General. However, since then a federal court overturned that decision, stating that the EEOC’s policies are not relevant to the discrimination case it was bringing against Dollar General, though it did say the EEOC must provide documentation specifying what would constitute “reasonable” and “acceptable” background check practices for companies. However, that judge’s decision goes against the decisions made in two other high-profile EEOC cases over the past year. The EEOC lost its cases against both Freeman and Kaplan Education after they were appealed. The courts in both those cases determined that the EEOC’s own background-screening practices were, in fact, relevant to the defense. The EEOC can sue for discrimination on behalf of individuals on a number of factors, including race, national origin, gender, disability and age. When the EEOC provides concrete screening guidelines, it will help businesses — all businesses, not just the ones being sued — to reform hiring and background screening processes so employers can ensure they are staying within their legal rights. Having more specific guidelines for appropriate background screening will ultimately benefit both employers and job-seekers.]]>

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