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Eeoc Moves To Stop Discrimination Against Job Applicants With A Criminal Record
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Eeoc Moves to Stop Discrimination Against Job Applicants With A Criminal Record

As is known, every state and the federal government have laws to prohibit employers from discriminating based on race, national origin, creed, religion, gender and disability.

We all know illegal discrimination is still a major blemish on our society. However, many employers are aware of the laws and attempt to abide.

Yet, the same employer that is careful not to discriminate against a person on race will openly refuse to hire someone with a criminal record. One of the routine questions during the application process is whether the prospective employee has a criminal record.

Generally, any applicant with a criminal record, regardless of the type of conviction, goes to the end of the line. In addition, a significant number of job seekers with criminal records belong to a minority group. As a result, employers not considering applicants with criminal records have had a disparate impact on racial minorities.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recognized this problem in the 1970s by issuing a policy that employers may not use an applicant’s criminal history to illegally discriminate against racial minorities.

However, in reality, the New York Times recently reported that employers have not known and therefore not obeyed the EEOC’s policy.

In April, the EEOC exhibited a determination to eliminate this disparate impact on racial minorities by adopting new guidelines concerning not hiring applicants because of criminal record.

Following is an outline of the key points of the new guidelines:

1. These guidelines supersede all previous EEOC directives on this subject.

2. The EEOC’s new policy requires companies to implement procedures to demonstrate that they are not using criminal records to discriminate by race or national origin.

3. The EEOC now directs that employers may not use arrest records when considering to hire a person because an arrest does not always mean a conviction.

4. The EEOC permits using an applicant’s record of convictions but only when it can prove that the not hiring an applicant because of his conviction record is closely related to the ability to do the job. To accomplish this, the EEOC recommends employers to formulate a “targeted screen considering at least the nature of the crime, the time elapsed and the nature of the job.” If after evaluating based on these three factors, that an applicant is not appropriate for the job, the company must complete an individual assessment of the applicant based on eight factors.

The EEOC claims that it is enforcing these new guidelines and investigating hundreds of claims of discrimination based on criminal history. For unemployed Americans who truly reformed themselves after being convicted of crimes, this is very welcome news.


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