What You Need to Understand About Criminal Background Checks When Hiring Employees
NYC & Queens Employment Defense Attorney
Recently, based on alleged race discrimination resulting from criminal background checks, BMW settled with the EEOC through an agreement to pay $1.6 million and provide job opportunities. All logistics employees that reapplied to continue working at BMV were given background checks. BMW policies excluded anyone convicted of a misdemeanor or felony regardless of how long ago and did not re-hire these employees. As a result, an estimated 100 workers, including those working there for several years were not re-hired and 80 percent were African American.
This violated EEOC’s 2012 guidelines on employers’ use of criminal background checks in hiring. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the guideline prohibits employers from using practices or policies that screen individuals based on criminal history information if it significantly puts Title VII protected individuals such as African Americans or Hispanics at a disadvantage or if such screening does not help the employer accurately decide whether the person would be responsible, reliable or a safe employee.
In the situation with BMW, some employees had clearly proved they were responsible, reliable and safe but were let go based on an arbitrary company rule. BMW changed its policies so they were in line with Title VII and cooperated with the EEOC in reaching a fair settlement outside of court.
When putting screening policies and other hiring protocols in place, it is wise to work closely with an experienced employment litigation attorney. Many companies underestimate the value of legal guidance until disputes arise that lead to lawsuits. Stephen Hans & Associates offers you decades of legal experience in employment law and will vigorously protect your rights as an employer.