EEOC misses on criminal background check discrimination lawsuit

Last month I blogged about the EEOC’s new employment discrimination priorities, including the EEOC’s focus on criminal background checks. The EEOC argues criminal background checks of job applicants results in an illegal, discriminatory employment practice. EEOC suggests there is a discriminatory impact on minorities when criminal background checks are not a job necessity. The EEOC made it a policy goal to bring litigation to nudge the courts into making law.

In its first major battle, the EEOC swung and missed. In a case filed in 2009 against Freeman Companies the EEOC alleged the company made use of credit checks and criminal background checks to screen employees out employees in such a way that it had a discriminatory impact on racial minorities. The Maryland district court hearing the case struck down the EEOC’s case on two key issues. (1) The court said the EEOC failed to present the necessary statistical evidence to prove a disparate impact. (2) The EEOC failed to isolate the discriminatory applicant screening from the company’s other screening practices.

EEOC, employment discrimination, employment attorneys in Texas

In reading the court’s harsh criticism of the EEOC’s evidence, one can easily read the opinion as either: (1) the EEOC really blew it on this case; or (2) the judge had a personal opinion about the EEOC’s stance on criminal background screening and fit the judicial opinion to the personal opinion; or (3) both. Without reading the statistical analysis myself, it’s hard to say which is most accurate. The EEOC’s approach to lumping together all of Freeman’s screening practices suggests maybe the EEOC did not put forward as clean of a case as it should have. Then the EEOC takes the blame for the miss rather than a judicial bias against employment discrimination plaintiffs. Then again the broad approach may have been intended to shape law on the issue.

Employment lawyers in Texas for EEOC employment discrimination claims

Employment lawyers represent clients in Texas in employment discrimination and other claims. EEOC complaints may resolve in mediation or settlement discussions during the EEOC investigation. If not then the employee and the employment lawyer must consider proceeding with litigation or arbitration of the employee’s claim. If you believe you have an employment discrimination issue then you should talk to employment lawyers right away. Employment discrimination claims have a short statute of limitations period in which you must file an administrative complaint to preserve your case.

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