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Calling for a Balanced Approach to Criminal Background Checks

Yesterday, the EEOC continued its series of public meetings examining hiring practices as alleged employment barriers, covering employers' use of arrest and conviction records . According to the EEOC's press release , it is trying to strike a balance between workplace fairness and workplace...

Foley & Lardner Labor and Employment Law Weekly Update (Week of August 15, 2011)

Recent Developments Highlight Need to Conduct Individualized Analysis of Criminal Background Checks By Larry S. Perlman As pre-employment criminal background checks have become the norm, employers must take care to ensure compliance with federal and state laws regarding use of criminal conviction...

5 Reasons Why Criminal Background Checks Are a Perfect Storm for a Lawsuit

Criminal background checks of job applicants seems to have reached a tipping point as a topic in employment-law circles. So, what are the key components leading to this perfect storm of EEO laws? 1. Most Employers Consider Criminal History According to a 2010 study conducted by SHRM , more than...

EEOC Announces New Guidance on Use of Criminal Background Checks Under Title VII-Focuses on Individualized Assessments of Past Crimes

Yesterday afternoon, the EEOC announced its long awaited, and, by employers, long dreaded, Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII (along with a short and sweet Q&A ). The Guidance is not nearly as bad for employers...

When State Law Conflicts with the EEOC on Criminal Background Checks, Who Wins?

Last year, the EEOC issued its long awaited Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII . While the Guidance was much more fair and balanced than many employer advocates (me included) expected, it does include some head-scratchers...

Employers Must "Think Outside the Box" When Hiring in Seattle: New "Ban the Box" Ordinance Restricts Use of Criminal Background Checks

10 states and more than 50 municipalities and counties have some form of "ban the box" legislation, regulations, or ordinances on their books. Earlier this summer, the city of Seattle, Washington joined them, and on November 1, 2013, Seattle's new "ban the box" ordinance goes...

Bill Would Limit Use of Criminal Histories for Delaware Employers

So-called “ban-the-box” initiatives, which limit employers’ inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history, have been adopted by several cities and municipalities. Philadelphia adopted such a law in the Spring of 2011. The City of Wilmington joined the ban-the-box bandwagon in...

San Francisco Employers Must Limit Criminal History Inquiries

San Francisco has joined several other cities in enacting “ban the box” legislation to restrict the ability of private employers to inquire about and consider criminal history information for employment purposes. San Francisco’s recently enacted Fair Chance Ordinance takes effect August...

Would You Rather Hire a Liar or a Criminal?

According to a recent survey conducted by background-screening company EmployeeScreenIQ , resume lies are more of a deal breaker for employers than past crimes. Of the 600 HR professionals surveyed 45 percent said that they routinely ding candidates with a criminal history on their resume, while a whopping...

The Employer Conundrum Over Conducting Criminal Background Screens

by Karen Elliott The war continues over the use of criminal background checks in the hiring process and employers are caught in the middle. A brief history here may be helpful. In April of 2012 the EEOC published its Enforcement Guidance on Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment...

New Jersey Limits Use of Criminal History in Hiring Decisions

by Rachel Tischler As we reported in December 2013 (see here ), New Jersey was on the road to joining 6 other states which have recently passed legislation banning or limiting the use of criminal background checks in the hiring process. On August 11, 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed...

EEOC Should Do As It Does, Not As It Says

Last June, the EEOC sued BMW , claiming that the company’s policy of automatically disqualifying from employment anyone with certain felony convictions disparately impacted African-Americans. Unfortunately for the EEOC, like BMW, it also uses criminal background checks to screen applicants. BMW...

Read This Before You Revoke A Job Offer in Pennsylvania Based on Criminal History

Across the country, many states and localities have enacted ban-the-box legislation. In a nutshell, ban the box means that employers cannot inquire about an applicant's criminal history until after the first job interview. For example, Philadelphia has ban the box. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania...

States With Pro-Employee Laws: Ban The Box

Or, States That Don't Suck For Employees, Part VI You may have heard the term “ban the box” but not know what it means. These laws generally prevent employers from asking about applicant arrests or convictions at the beginning of the application process, and only allow inquiries after...

A Hospital May Have Broken the Law by NOT Hiring a Convicted Meth Dealer

I see your wild sexual harassment lawsuit and, after the jump, raise you this doozie... Better call, Saul! Even Walter White and Jesse Pinkman were like, WTH?!? Close your eyes for a sec and picture you're out in Hawaii. [ Editor's Note : To those of you who are already in Hawaii, if...

Better Than "Ban the Box?"

Michigan has taken a different approach with respect to addressing the issue of employability of persons who were convicted and served time in state prisons. The state enacted two laws which combine to provide a level of defense for employers who hired ex-convicts. The first bill establishes a procedure...

NYC Council Votes to Sharply Restrict Employer Use of Criminal Background Checks

by Christopher Collins On Wednesday, June 10, 2015, the New York City Council approved a bill that will strictly regulate how employers in New York City (with at least four employees) may conduct criminal background checks. Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill, which will go into effect...

New Law Restricts Ability of Employers in New York City to Ask Job Applicants If They Have Criminal Records

On June 29, 2015, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio signed, into law, the New York City Fair Chance Act, Local 63 of 2015 (the “Fair Chance Act,” the “NYCFCA,” “Local Law 63″ or the “new Law”) , which takes effect on October 27, 2015. The Fair Chance Act...

BMW Settles EEOC Background-Check Lawsuit For a Cool $1.6 Mil

Last month, a South Carolina federal judge denied BMW’s attempt to dismiss an EEOC lawsuit which alleged that the company’s criminal background checks for job applicants had a discriminatory disparate impact on African Americans ( opinion here ) [subscribers can access an enhanced version...

A Bipartisan “Ban the Box” Bill is Introduced in Congress

Some states and cities have made it illegal to ask about criminal convictions on job applications. A new bill introduced last week in both the U.S. House and Senate called the Fair Chance Act may “ban the box” across the country for all federal agencies and federal contractors. With limited...

Federal “Ban the Box” Legislation Announced by Bipartisan Group

by Tim J. St. George , David M. Gettings , David N. Anthony and John C. Lynch On September 10, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in both houses of Congress introduced the Fair Chance Act (S. 2021/H.R. 3470). The Fair Chance Act was introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D...

The Lessons of EEOC v. Freeman – “Know When to Hold ’Em. Know When to Fold ’Em.”

I was going to skip past this opinion from the District of Maryland until I realized that it started with a reference to a classic country song and, therefore, it immediately moved up my list and became worthy of a closer read. World-renowned poker expert Kenny Rogers once sagely advised, “You’ve...

President Obama Wants Federal Agencies to “Ban the Box”

No more questions about criminal convictions on job applications. Flanked by New Jersey Senator (and former Newark Mayor) Cory Booker (D-NJ), President Obama announced yesterday in Newark, NJ that he would take action to help those with criminal convictions to find jobs. According to a White House...

Proposed Federal “Ban the Box” Legislation Receives Bipartisan Support

by Jonathan Sokolowski and Kathleen Simpson* On September 10, 2015, the Fair Chance Act (the “Act”) was introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators from both houses of Congress. The Act would prohibit federal contractors and agencies from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal...