Thursday, April 26, 2012

EEOC Issues Enforcement Guidance on Using Arrest/Conviction Records

EeocThe EEOC yesterday issued an updated Enforcement Guidance on employer use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions under Title VII. The Commission voted 4-1 to approve the guidance document.  The Commission also issued a Question-and-Answer (Q&A) document about the guidance.  Here's a description from the EEOC's press release:

While Title VII does not prohibit an employer from requiring applicants or employees to provide information about arrests, convictions or incarceration, it is unlawful to discriminate in employment based on race, color, national origin, religion, or sex.  The guidance builds on longstanding guidance documents that the EEOC issued over twenty years ago.  The Commission originally issued three separate policy documents in February and July 1987 under Chair Clarence Thomas and in September 1990 under Chair Evan Kemp explaining when the use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions may violate Title VII.  The Commission also held public meetings on the subject in 2008 and 2011.  The Enforcement Guidance issued today is predicated on, and supported by, federal court precedent concerning the application of Title VII to employers’ consideration of a job applicant or employee’s criminal history and incorporates judicial decisions issued since passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.  The guidance also updates relevant data, consolidates previous EEOC policy statements on this issue into a single document and illustrates how Title VII applies to various scenarios that an employer might encounter when considering the arrest or conviction history of a current or prospective employee.

Hat tip: Carol Furnish.

rb

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