EEOC Issues Guidance Regarding The Consideration Of Criminal Records In Employment Decisions

On April 25, 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued an Enforcement Guidance on employer use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).  The Enforcement Guidance clarifies and updates the EEOC’s longstanding policy that a categorical exclusion from employment of individuals with a criminal record raises disparate impact concerns.

The EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance comes at an important time.  In the last 20 years, an increasing number of Americans, including a disproportionate number of persons from protected status groups, have had contact with the criminal justice system.  As a result, more and more job applicants now have criminal records.  Simultaneously, advances in technology have made accessing applicants’ criminal history oftentimes as easy as pressing a button.  Given these developments, it is essential for employers to maintain proper policies for criminal record screening.

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