Background screening can be a valuable tool for any organization looking to identify and evaluate potential employees or volunteers for their organization. Having a clear understanding of an applicant’s background is essential when it comes to hiring decisions.
However, employers need to be aware of the EEOC guidelines as it pertains to background screening. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the government agency responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to retaliate against a person because of a complaint about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
A recent example of an EEOC enforcement can be found with the case between the EEOC and a furniture retailer called Rooms to Go. In this case, the parties reached a settlement agreement as the retailer agreed to make changes to their background screening policies after a complaint was made concerning disparate impact hiring practices.
The retailer agreed to the following changes to their background screening policies:
- Remove any blanket exclusions for criminal convictions
- Provide an individualized assessment for all applicants
- Postpone criminal history questions until later in hiring process
- Require Human Resource employees and any other essentials employees participate in implicit bias training
If employers take the time to review the EEOC guidance and understand and follow laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), then they can take advantage of all the valuable information they receive in a background check and make the best decisions possible when hiring. The case referenced in this blog, and others like it, is a reminder to employers that periodic review of all hiring processes should occur to maintain a program that is compliant with the law.
Read the entire EEOC Guidance for more information:
Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Organizations should focus and want to get the best possible value out of their background screening program. Utilize a background screening provider that not only offers a report that you can rely on but utilize a provider you know will offer you the products, services, and training that keeps legal compliance in mind.
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Consulting with a legal professional is always recommended.