Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Continuing their recent focus on the potential discriminatory effects on racial and ethic minorities from employers' use of criminal background checks in hiring, EEOC filed a class action law suit on September 30, 2009. EEOC alleged that a Dallas-based convention and corporate events planning company unlawfully discriminates against black, Hispanic and male job applicants by using credit histories and certain types of criminal arrests or convictions as selection criteria in hiring. The law suit alleged that since at least 2001, the Freeman Cos. use of credit histories and criminal backgrounds as selection criteria has a "significant disparate impact" on black applicants and its use of "criminal justice history information" as a selection criterion has an adverse impact on Hispanic and male applicants.
The complaint alleges that the effects of using credit histories and criminal background deprive a class of black, Hispanic and male job applicants equal employment opportunity and is not job related and consistent with business necessity and there exist appropriate, less discriminatory alternative selection procedures.
This is just another example of employers using selection devices that are not related to the job in question and rolling the dice on whether it is going to have a disparate impact on certain groups. However, in this case the employer should have known that using credit and criminal histories as an exclusionary device would have a significant disparate impact upon the protected groups alleged.