Legislative Alert - September 25, 2015 BMW Settles with EEOC, Federal Ban the Box Gains Steam

Legislative Alert – September 25, 2015

Topics Include:

  • BMW settles with EEOC
  • Federal Version of Ban the Box Picking Up Steam
  • NYC Ban on Credit Checks Now in Effect


BMW Ends EEOC Dispute with $1.6 Million

BMW brings its dispute with the EEOC to an end by signing a consent decree and by offering $1.6 million in relief to the claimants who lost their jobs because of conflicting background screening policies. In 2008, BMW ended a partnership with a logistics company, and required those hired by the partner to go re-apply for their jobs. BMW has a much more stringent background check requirement and dozens of African American employees were let go.

The automaker denies any liability and does not admit to any wrongdoing by making this deal. It does, however, agree to follow very strict procedures when dealing with job applicants that have criminal records. The mandated procedures go above and beyond the EEOC guidance that employers across the country abide by. For example, BMW must allow the job applicant 21 days to contact them to handle an adverse action. The typical time allowed under the Fair Credit Reporting Act is just 5 days. BMW is also now required to conduct an individualized assessment every time a criminal history is considered in a hiring decision.

Federal Version of Ban the Box Picking Up Steam

Supporters of the Ban the Box movement have been pushing the federal government to get on the bandwagon, and it is finally happening. Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) recently introduced House Bill 3470, also known as the Fair Chance Act. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced a Senate version. The legislation would prohibit federal agencies and their contractors from asking job applicants for criminal history information until after a conditional job offer has been made. Eighteen states and more than 100 cities already have Ban the Box laws in effect. The Fair Chance Act applies to all three branches of the federal government and all of their contractors. Exceptions will be made for positions in law enforcement, national security and other classified areas.

NY Ban on Credit Checks Now in Effect

A New York City law that bans employers from looking at a job applicant’s credit history is now in effect. The Stop Discrimination in Employment Act (SCDEA) went into effect on September 3rd. Now all Big Apple businesses that employ 4 or more people are banned from looking at anything dealing with an applicant’s credit.

The definition of credit history is very broad and includes everything from a credit report or credit score to bankruptcies, judgments, liens, the number of creditors they have, missed payments, items in collection and more. There are very few exemptions, and penalties will range from $125,000 to $250,000. Chicago, Illinois, Madison, Wisconsin and 10 states already have similar bans, but New York’s is by far the broadest yet.

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Jennifer Gladstone

Posted By: Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.