Posted: Aug 11, 2010 3:40 PM by Melissa Canone
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says employers who
screen job applicants for criminal backgrounds or credit history
cannot do so in a way that disproportionately excludes certain
racial or ethnic groups. An exception is where the company can show
the practice is job-related and "consistent with business
A blanket hiring policy than bars employment for anyone with an
arrest or conviction history is nearly always considered illegal,
the EEOC says, because it discriminates against blacks and
Hispanics, who have arrest and conviction rates greater than
The commission says employers must consider three factors when
looking at criminal records:
-The nature and gravity of the offense.
-How long ago the conviction took place or the time since
completion of any prison sentence.
-Whether the criminal offense is related to the job sought.
While the EEOC has not issued an official policy on credit
checks, it has argued in court that such checks may be illegal if
they have a disparate impact on blacks.
Some courts have held that credit checks are allowed for certain
jobs, such as where an employee handles large amounts of cash, even
if the hiring policy disproportionately screens out black