Some Members of Civil-Rights Panel Accuse EEOC of Overreach on Racism

Some members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights say that a federal panel is, in the interest of fighting racism, engaging in bureaucratic overreach and making it harder for businesses to avoid hiring felons. The panel’s report, targets the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over its guidelines for businesses conducting background checks of potential employees. The guidelines warn businesses that such checks could expose them to racial discrimination claims. The EEOC’s 2012 Guidance states that any employment policy that disfavors persons with criminal records “disproportionally affects racial and ethnic minorities, particularly black or Hispanic with criminal records nationwide,” and then instructs them on ways to avoid rejecting those applicants based on a race or ethnic group’s “higher than average likelihood of a criminal history.” But some members of the civil rights panel argue in a 350-page report that the EEOC’s guidelines are “deeply flawed” and so vague as to be useless. It also argues that the EEOC’s language and arguments would confuse laymen more than clarify questions and put employers in a no-win situation regarding lawsuits – either they will be sued for racism if they use background checks or be held accountable for ex-felons’ on-the-job actions if they don’t. Read the full report

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