In a scathing opinion issued today in EEOC v. Freeman, No. 09-CV-2573 (D. Md. Aug. 9, 2013), Judge Roger Titus of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland dismissed a nationwide pattern or practice lawsuit brought by the EEOC (previously discussed here and here) that alleged that Freeman, Inc., a service provider for corporate events, unlawfully relied upon credit and criminal background checks that caused a disparate impact against African-American, Hispanic, and male job applicants.
For those of you tracking anything and everything about the EEOC’s criminal records guidance, this is for you.
Approximately 92% of employers use criminal background checks for some or all job openings. This number is, or should be, 100% in the financial services industry, where FDIC regulations require insured depository institutions to check for any convicted criminal offenses involving dishonesty, money laundering, and any other breach of trust.
On June 28th, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a settlement agreement with J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc. – a transportation company – to resolve allegations that the company discriminated against an African-American candidate for a truck driver position, because J.B. Hunt’s hiring policy considers criminal convictions that are unrelated to the duties of the job.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been concerned for quite a while about the disparate impact that the criminal background checks many employers run on applicants and employees may have a disparate impact on the basis of race and national origin.