The chief legal officers representing Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia warned the EEOC that their position on criminal background checks violating Title VII is invalid.
What is Title VII? That is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Specifically it prohibits discrimination by employers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
The EEOC issued Guidance in April of 2012 stating that a neutral policy of using prior criminal convictions as part of a job screening has a “disparate impact” on minorities. Even though this policy has been routinely criticized, they have continued to file lawsuits using this policy as their basis.
The critiques for this policy are:
- The EEOC’s guidance would illegitimately expand Title VII protection to former criminals.”
- The EEOC does not have the authority to create a policy of shielding individuals from their criminal history, that would have to be created by Congress.
- The “individualized assessment” that the EEOC has required would be financially ruinous for employers.
Once again, the EEOC exceeds the authority granted to them by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and attempts to create the law instead of enforcing the law as written.