Background Screening and the EEOC

Background checks, particularly those that exclude an applicant based on criminal history, are facing increased scrutiny by the EEOC as they try to eliminate barriers in recruiting and hiring. The EEOC continues to advance its position that background checks should rarely be used, and only when relevant to the position in question. So far they have not fared well in court, but we expect them to continue to pursue background screening cases. Regarding using criminal records in hiring decisions, the EEOC advises employers to consider:

  • The nature and gravity of the offense or conduct
  • The time that has passed since the offense
  • The nature of the job held or sought

When using a background screen for hiring, the commission urges employers to make an individual assessment based on the results of the screen and the position in question.

Is the report accurate?

The way the reports are used is important but we also urge employers to make sure the reports are accurate. That means every record should be vetted, because errors can and do occur. You don’t want to attribute an arrest to a person whose only crime is having the same name as someone else.  If you don’t have the time or resources to vet every record, hire a company that vets the records before compiling a report.

Does your disclosure violate FCRA?

The way you disclose your intent to check someone’s background or credit history is important too. Read more about how to make sure your disclosure doesn’t violate FCRA.

Finally, background screening best practices are always changing.  We strongly recommend you take our free webinar Hot Topics in Background Screening on July 14th. Register today!