Nine state attorneys general have joined ranks to compose and send a five-page letter to Chair Jacqueline Berrien of the Equal Emplloyment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) opposing the EEOC's stance on criminal background checks in general and its lawsuits against BMW and Dollar General in particular.

The lawsuits charge those two firms with discrimination in employment practices based upon criminal background checks.

The attorneys general, in turn, argue that the EEOC's guidance on criminal background checks — that they too often result in disparate impact on minorities in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — seeks to override state laws concerning criminal background checks.

Explains West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey:

“Our state has a number of laws that seek to protect the public interest by requiring potential hires to pass criminal background checks,” the attorney general said in a statement. “One example that is particularly relevant these days — in light of our struggles with prescription drug abuse — is the law that prohibits any person who has been convicted of a felony here or in any other state from owning, being employed by or associating with a pain management clinic.

“The EEOC’s published guidance suggests that the commission would consider this West Virginia law unlawful.”

Joining West Virginia in sending the letter are the states of Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Caolina and Utah.