EEOC Files Claims Against Two Employers for Use of Criminal Background Checks
The EEOC recently filed contrasting claims against both BMW Manufacturing Company, LLC, and Dolgencorp, who does business as Dollar General on June 11, 2013. The entire article can be found at EEOC Files Suit Against Two Employers for Use of Criminal Background Checks.
The EEOC alleges that BMW unequally screened out African Americans from jobs and that the policy is not job-related and consistent with business necessity. The claimants were employees of UTi Integrated Logistics, Inc. (“UTi”), which provided logistic services to BMW at the South Carolina facility.
Since 1994, BMW has had a criminal conviction policy that denies facility access to BMW employees and employees of contractors with certain criminal convictions. However, when UTi assigned the claimants to work at the BMW facility, UTi screened the employees according to UTi’s criminal conviction policy. UTi’s criminal history check the limited review to convictions within the prior seven years. BMW’s policy has no time limit with regard to convictions. The policy is a blanket exclusion without any individualized assessment of the nature and gravity of the crimes, the ages of the convictions, or the nature of the claimants’ respective positions.
In 2008, UTi ended its contract with BMW. During a transitional period, UTi employees were informed of the need to re-apply with the new contractor to retain their positions in the BMW warehouse. As part of the application process, BMW directed the new contractor to perform new criminal history checks on every current UTi employee applying for a transition of employment. The new contractor subsequently discovered that several UTi employees had criminal convictions in violation of BMW’s criminal conviction policy. As a result, those employees were told that they no longer met the criteria for working at the BMW facility. Those employees were subsequently terminated. Even more, those employees were denied rehire as employees of the new contractor. Despite the fact that, many of the employees had worked at the BMW facility for years.
Dollar General Allegations
The EEOC filed a nationwide lawsuit based on discrimination charges filed by two rejected African American applicants.
According to the EEOC, one of the applicants who had filed a charge with EEOC was given a conditional employment offer. Although, she had disclosed a six-year-old conviction for possession of a controlled substance. Her application also showed that she had previously worked for another discount retailer as a cashier-stocker for four years. Nevertheless, her job offer was allegedly revoked. This is because Dollar General’s practice was to use her type of conviction as a disqualification factor for 10 years.
According to the EEOC, the other applicant who filed an EEOC charge was fired by Dollar General. The conviction records report about her was wrong. She did not have the felony conviction attributed to her. The EEOC suggested that, although she advised the store manager of the mistake in the report, the company did not reverse its decision. She was still fired.
Both lawsuits were brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On April 25, 2012, the EEOC issued updated enforcement guidance on employer use of arrest and conviction records. This is the first instance of a case regarding the new criminal guidelines.
On April 25, 2012, the EEOC issued updated enforcement guidance on employer use of arrest and conviction records. The EEOC is a member of the federal interagency Reentry Council, a Cabinet-level interagency group convened to examine all aspects of reentry of individuals with a criminal history. Among other issues, the Reentry Council is working to reduce barriers to employment. This way the people with past criminal involvement can compete for appropriate work opportunities. They will be able to support themselves and their families, pay their taxes and contribute to the economy. This is only after they have been held accountable and paid their dues.
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