EEOC Publishes Guidance on Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records

The EEOC released Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (PDF)
This guidance, issued on April 25, 2012has been much anticipated since the EEOC held a public hearing on this topic last summer. If you were not already aware of the issue, the crux is this: arrest and incarceration rates are significantly higher in certain ethnic groups than others. African Americans and Hispanics are arrested at a rate that is 2 to 3 times their proportion of the general population. Therefore, if an employer exclude individuals based solely on their criminal records, that decision is likely to disproportionately affect certain ethnic groups, thereby violating Title VII. Continue reading

California Moves Closer to Privacy Law for Facebook Users

Maryland was the first state in the country to pass legislation that would prohibit employers from requesting or requiring an applicant or employee to turn over his or her password to a social-networking account, such as Facebook. As I mentioned in the end of my post about the Maryland bill, California and Illinois had similar pieces of legislation in the works. Continue reading

Should Cyber-Screening by Employers Be Legislated?

Employers have been cyber-screening job candidates for years now. Although reports vary on how many of the nation’s employers are Googling applicants, officially or unofficially. But the practice is a reality.

What also is a reality is the many variations of cyber-screening that exist. On the most moderate end of the spectrum are employers who have instituted a legally defensible practice, as I’ve written about previously. On the most extreme and unsavory end are employers who require applicants to turn over passwords and log-in informaiton for their social-networking accounts. Bozeman, Montana was the first employer to make the news for this practice; Maryland’s Department of Corrections was the most recent. Continue reading

New Philly Law Limits Use of Criminal-Background Checks

Philadelphia is the latest city to prohibit employers from asking job applicants to disclose their criminal history. The Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards (PDF) was signed by Mayor Nutter on April 13, 2011, and goes into effect on July 13. The purpose of the new law is to increase employment opportunities for candidates who have a criminal history by ensuring that the candidate will be “judged on his or her own merit during the submission of the application and at least until the completion of one interview.” Continue reading

Is Creditworthiness a Protected Characteristic? Yes, says EEOC

EEOC has filed a particularly newsworthy lawsuit against Kaplan Higher Education Corp.The suit is based on Kaplan’s alleged consideration of candidates’ credit histories during the hiring process.  EEOC takes the position (and has, for quite some time), that employers may be engaging in unlawful employment discrimination by using a candidate’s credit history when deciding who to hire. EEOC contends that this practice, in which many employers engage regularly, has an unlawful discriminatory impact based on race and is neither job-related nor justified by business necessity.  In short, EEOC alleges that employers, including Kaplan, are disproportionately disqualifying black candidates due to credit ratings. Continue reading