EEOC scrutinizes Dollar General's background check policy
according to a recent SEC filing. The EEOC has alleged that the company’s criminal background check policy has a “disparate impact” toward black job candidates and employees, a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The company was notified about the allegation in September 2011, but efforts to resolve the matter were unsuccessful. Dollar General’s employment background check policy “excludes from employment individuals with certain criminal convictions for specified periods,” according to the company’s filing. “The Company believes that its criminal background check process is both lawful and necessary to a safe environment for its employees and customers and the protection of its assets and shareholders’ investments,” the filing reads. In the past, companies have had to dish out millions of dollars in fines and settlements for criminal background check policies that didn’t pass muster with the EEOC. Earlier this year, Pepsi agreed to pay $3.1 million after the agency found the company’s use of criminal background checks discriminated based on race. “When employers contemplate instituting a background check policy, the EEOC recommends that they take into consideration the nature and gravity of the offense, the time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence, and the nature of the job sought in order to be sure that the exclusion is important for the particular position,” said Julie Schmid, acting director of the EEOC’s Minneapolis Area Office. As the EEOC focuses attention on employers’ use of criminal history in their hiring decisions, the agency suggests companies review and revise their background policies. In general, the EEOC considers broad blanketed exclusions on any individuals with an arrest or criminal history to be in violation of federal law.]]>
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