November 21, 2011 Articles

Could Employee Criminal Background Checks Violate Title VII?

The issue of liability for employers who use background checks when making hiring decisions, and rights of employees who are denied for a conviction, remains unclear.

By Holly J. Clemente – November 21, 2011

In 2009, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) indicated that it was making plans to revisit and possibly update its 1987 Policy Statement on the Issue of Conviction Records under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which explains when employers can use arrest and conviction records as pre-employment screening criteria. As part of the EEOC’s “E-RACE Initiative” (Eradicating Racism and Colorism from Employment), the commission has taken a specific interest in focusing on different aspects of the employee-hiring process. Although no new guidance on this topic has been forthcoming from the EEOC, the issue of liability for employers who currently use criminal-background checks when making hiring decisions, and rights of employees who are denied employment on the basis of a previous conviction, remains undetermined.

Premium Content For:
  • Litigation Section
Join - Now