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The EEOC Over-reaches Again: the Agency’s Ongoing Interest in Employee Background Checks – Criminal and Otherwise

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the agency responsible for
enforcing many federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a
job applicant or an employee because of they are member of a protected class.
The EEOC handles individual complaints and brings charges of systemic discrimination
– those involving patterns, practices, and policies where the alleged discrimination
has a broad impact on an industry, profession, company, or geographic area.

In the past few years, in pursuit of its goal to snuff out systemic discrimination,
the Commission has targeted the use of employment screenings that may have
disparate impacts, particularly criminal background and credit history checks.
The Commission’s crusade against systemic discrimination has become more and
more notorious as the EEOC continues to litigate several federal lawsuits
charging employers with inappropriately considering criminal histories in
hiring in violation of Title VII.

Employers should be mindful that use of a broad criminal background check,
not tailored to the job in question, exposes them to unnecessary risk. Employers
should also be aware that while the use of a background check can provide
them with useful information about applicants, incorrect use of background
information can lead to a host of problems.

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Posted Under: EBI

Post By Barry Nixon (262 Posts)

W. Barry Nixon is the COO, the leading background screening information portal and online worldwide directory of professional background screening firms and Suppliers to the background screening industry. He co-authored the landmark book, Background Screening & Investigations: Managing Hiring Risk from the HR and Security Perspective. He also is the publisher of award winning newsletters, The Background Buzz and The Global Background Screener, and the author of the Background Checks column in PI Magazine.

In addition, Barry is a past recipient of the elite ‘Top 25 Influential People in Security’ by Security Magazine and past Co-Chair, International Committee for the National Association for Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). He currently serves as a Global Ambassador for NAPBS.

You can contact Barry at 1-949-770-5264 or online at