When the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in recent years noticed an increase in complaints about employment background checks and their effect on minorities, it unveiled its E-RACE (Eradicating Racism And Colorism from Employment) program.
With adverse hiring decisions arising from background checks still hurting black and Latin applicants, the agency is reissuing its warning about the use of background checks, specifically when certain information on the inquiries leads to automatic employment disqualification, specifically a criminal record or poor credit score. Using such blanket standards, the EEOC says, has a disparate impact on minorities, which then leads to actionable complaints.
The agency has pinpointed two practices that get employers in the hottest of hot EEOC water: First, what was mentioned above, a blanket policy against hiring anyone with a poor credit score or a criminal record. Second, the failure by the employer to show how information found in an applicant’s background disqualifies that person from a particular job.
While some background information and some positions have definite negative correlations–such as a conviction for embezzlement in an bank teller applicant’s background–many connections are not clear at all and can lead to EEOC investigations and possible action.
Employers, you may want to revisit your use of background checks in light of this recent EEOC advisory.