EEOC Focus On The Use Of Criminal Records For Employment

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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - EEOCOn August 1, 2011, EBI sent our clients and newsroom readers a blog post titled, “Synopsis Of EEOC Meeting - Arrest And Conviction Records As A Barrier To Employment".  This article included an overview of the meeting that took place at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) headquarters in Washington, DC on July 26th.  The focus of this meeting was titled “Arrest and Conviction Records as a Barrier to Employment”.  Considering the current economic climate and the continued focus on reintegrating ex-offenders back into the workplace, the EEOC is taking a harder look at policies regarding an employer’s use of criminal records as part of the background screening and employment decision and retention process.  Please click on the link provided above for further details regarding this meeting.

Industry Efforts to Educate the EEOC
After the conclusion of the meeting, the EEOC decided to establish a public comment period of 30-days to allow all interested parties an opportunity to provide additional comment in regards to this meeting.  Employment Background Investigations, Inc. (EBI), along with the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) feels it is critically important to further educate the EEOC and other interested parties on the overwhelming need to utilize criminal records information as part of the employment and retention decision-making process.  In addition, there is a need to educate the EEOC on current regulations that govern the use of such information and regulate employers, and protect consumers through the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and other state laws.  Employers need to understand that there has been no action taken by the EEOC at this time, and no further announcement of next steps has been made by the Commission.  This is a critical opportunity for the background screening industry and employers to provide critical input during this discovery process.  We have provided a link to EBI’s response in regards to the public comment period for your review.  Our response is closely aligned with our industry and other interested associations and third-parties.  Please take a moment to read the article and fully understand our position on this matter as an advocate of background screening and the services we provide our clients.  In addition, NAPBS has also provided comment and invited Commissioner Victoria Lipnic from the EEOC to speak at our Mid-year meeting which will take place in Orlando, Florida this fall.

What You Can Do As An Employer
As an employer, you need to be heard and remind the EEOC about why you utilize criminal records in your employment decisions.  They need to clearly understand the significant risks and costs of workplace violence, fraud, theft and a need to protect vulnerable populations within the workplace.  It’s an employer’s duty to provide a safe and productive workplace for their employees.  Provided is a draft template of an Employer Response To EEOC Meeting that you may edit as you deem appropriate and print on your company letterhead.  You can mail this directly to the EEOC by using the mailing information or email address provided.  We strongly encourage you to take the opportunity to be heard and protect your rights as an employer to be able to use criminal records information in your hiring decision process.

EBI is committed to providing employers with valuable education and resources on changing legislation and cutting-edge and compliant solutions to meet federal, state, local and international mandatory requirements.  EBI will continue to update you on any further action or information available regarding this topic.