Fifth Circuit: Criminal Background Guidance by EEOC Struck Down


State of Texas


August 6, 2019


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In 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a guidance document directed at employers, cautioning them that blanket hiring bans on job applicants with criminal convictions could lead to disparate impact Title VII liability. The rationale was that blanket bans could disproportionately impact ethnic and racial minorities. Employers using this kind of policy could invite further investigation by the EEOC and possible charges of discrimination. The guidance also instructed that an employer could potentially avoid liability by showing that the policy of not hiring applicants with criminal convictions was related to the job being filled, and consistent with the needs of the business.

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