Several companies have tried, but BMW just came out the winner in the background check battle with the EEOC.
BMW has been trying to get the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to turn over an explanation of how the agency uses background checks in its hiring decisions. The EEOC has accused BMW and several other employers of violating the rights of minorities by using background screening in a way that the commission claims have a “significant disparate impact on black employees.”
Considering the commission uses these same screening processes, employers have long complained that there is a “do as I say, not as I do” philosophy. Earlier this year, a Magistrate Judge denied BMW’s request for the EEOC documents saying BMW didn’t adequately explain how seeing the EEOC’s policy would help BMW prove its case.
BMW appealed to the U.S. District Court, and Judge Henry M. Herlong, Jr. overruled the Magistrate Judge. Herlong held that the EEOC’s policies do have relevance, and that BMW should be able to compare and see if the agency is using the same information in their hiring decisions. He also said since the production of these documents should not be a burden to the EEOC, there should be no harm in sharing them.
This ruling is being seen as yet another win for employers since the EEOC has been accused several times of filing lawsuits against employers for using background checks in the very same way as the commission. Depending on how this plays out, it might prove to be a gift to employers facing future EEOC lawsuits.
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