The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) April 2012 guidance limiting the use of arrest and conviction records in the employment screening process may not increase employment for minorities, or other protected classes, but simply give more jobs to people with criminal convictions. This is according to a commentator at a March 6 forum on the topic that was hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Consumer Data Industry Association, and National Association of Professional Background Screeners.
Experts speaking during the forum seemed to agree that the EEOC Guidance drives “processes” rather than “outcomes” of employment screening decisions, leaving open questions about whether an employer’s neutrally-applied practice would overcome a claim of discrimination. According to the Guidance, if a claimant establishes that the outcome of a criminal background screening policy disproportionally impacts a protected class, the defending employer then bears the burden of demonstrating the policy’s direct relevance to a job’s specific duties. .
Employers - including apartment companies - have considered their policies and practices to align with the EEOC Guidance, however, modifications may put them at-risk with conflicting state and local laws requiring blanket hiring exclusions under certain circumstances.
NMHC/NAA attended the event and are actively engaged in helping ensure that the EEOC and lawmakers consider the critical importance of criminal background screening in protecting apartment residents, owners and managers.
Member firms are reminded that complaints involving criminal background checks in employment may arise from unrelated legal investigations and even information voluntarily provided by a company, particularly when there has been a change in management.
- Tips for Better Criminal Activity Screening
- Administration Affirms Criminal Screening Can Violate Fair Housing Act
- Congress Asks for Details on HUD’s Criminal Screening Guidance
- Lawmakers Request Details on HUD Criminal Screenings Guidance
- Watch and Listen: NMHC and NAA Criminal Screening Policies Webinar