National Retail Federation (NRF) asked the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to closely examine new guidelines on the use of criminal background checks to screen job applicants, saying the regulations threaten to undermine retailers’ attempts to protect their customers and employees. “NRF believes that the criminal background question needs to remain on employment applications,” NRF Vice President for Loss Prevention Richard Mellor said. “This vital information is every bit as relevant as an applicant’s education, previous employment experience and formal training. The retail industry wants to keep our workplaces safe,” Mellor said. “Earlier interpretations of the guidelines were working fairly (but) this overly burdensome guidance will add risk, increase expenses, and cause confusion and legal challenges for many retailers.” Mellor was among witnesses testifying at a hearing the civil rights panel held on guidelines issued in April by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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