Make Sure your Criminal Background Check Policy is Compliant with this recent EEOC Discrimination Settlement

In January, the EEOC announced a settlement with Pepsi for a claim of discrimination due to Pepsi’s former criminal background screening policy. That policy included:

  • Not hiring job applicants for a permanent job who had been arrested pending prosecution even if they had never been convicted of any offense.
  • Denying employment to applicants from employment who had been arrested or convicted of certain minor offenses.

The policy’s impact was primarily felt by black applicants, thus the EEOC complaint and resulting settlement.

“When employers contemplate instituting a background check policy, the EEOC recommends that they take into consideration the nature and gravity of the offense, the time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence, and the nature of the job sought in order to be sure that the exclusion is important for the particular position.  Such exclusions can create an adverse impact based on race in violation of Title VII,” said Julie Schmid, Acting Director of the EEOC’s Minneapolis Area Office. “We hope that employers with unnecessarily broad criminal background check policies take note of this agreement and reassess their policies to ensure compliance with Title VII.”

You can read the complete announcement here.

If you have a question about your background screening policy please contact us and we will be happy to help. You can start the process by filling out a Policy Development Worksheet or calling us at 1.800.230.2991.


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