No more questions about criminal convictions on job applications.
If you follow me on Twitter (@Eric_B_Meyer), you saw I broke the news last Friday that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (here) joined the Sixth Circuit (here), in excluding expert testimony from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on how certain background checks may have a disparate impact on certain protected classes.
Yesterday, at the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, Jon Hyman quoted the money shot from the recent Fourth Circuit opinion. Ultimately, the Fourth Circuit found the EEOC’s expert testimony to be “fatally flawed in multiple respects.”
While two circuit courts have thrown shade at the EEOC for its background check crusade — #THEREWILLBEHATERS — this does not mean that employers are in the clear. Consider first, that the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan lists Eliminating Barriers in Recruitment and Hiring as its number one priority. And the word I hear is that the EEOC, which, too runs background checks, is going to continue its war on criminal and credit checks until the Supreme Court weighs in.
Monday kinda sucked for the EEOC.
The agency that made scrutiny of employee background checks a top priority under its current Strategic Enforcement Plan has been ordered by a federal court to turn over its own background check policy to an employer whom it is suing for a criminal background check policy that allegedly had a disparate impact on black employees.
*** smiles, grinds teeth, and inhales deeply ***
More after the jump…
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Across the country, many states and localities have enacted ban-the-box legislation. In a nutshell, ban the box means that employers cannot inquire about an applicant’s criminal history until after the first job interview.
For example, Philadelphia has ban the box. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not.
Still, Pennsylvania does have the Criminal History Record Information Act. But, indeed, a Pennsylvania federal court ruled on Wednesday that the Act and ban the box are two separate things:
CHRIA does not preclude an employer from revoking a conditional offer of employment based on a good faith belief than an applicant intentionally withheld material information on his employment application in violation of the employer’s policies.
Just be sure that, if you are asking about criminal history on a job application, you don’t operate in a ban-the-box town or city. And, even if you don’t, remember that under the Act precludes employers from basing employment decisions on misdemeanors and summary convictions that do not render an applicant unsuitable for employment. And basing an employment decision on a mere arrest…fuggedaboudit.
Like my arrest for male prostitution doesn’t make me unfit to be a lawyer.
(If only my blogging platform had a double strikethrough).
Halftime of the Eagles-Colts game. So, I only have 15 minutes to crank this one out. Here we go…
Two new bills in the House to watch.
1. The Litigation Oversight Act of 2014: This bill would amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to require the EEOC Commissions to decide by “majority vote whether the Commission shall commence or intervene in litigation involving multiple plaintiffs, or an allegation of systemic discrimination or a pattern or practice of discrimination.”
I give this somewhere between between a snowball’s chance in hell and hell freezes over chance of passing.
2. The Certainty in Enforcement Act of 2014 would also amend Title VII to allow employers “to engage in an employment practice that is required by Federal, State, or local law, in an area such as, but not limited to, health care, childcare, in-home services, policing, security, education, finance, employee benefits, and fiduciary duties.” The intent here is to hamstring the EEOC from scrutinizing background checks of current and potential employees.
Like my daughter in a bumper car, this too shouldn’t get far.
Come January 1, most NJ employers will no longer be able to ask about an applicant’s criminal record during the initial employment application process.
Ban the box will be b-b-b-b-banned in the Garden State!
More on the new law after the jump…
Many cities in the Mid-Atlantic region (Philadelphia, Newark) have passed legislation that makes it illegal for employers to inquire about criminal history early on in the job application / interview process. The State of Delaware too has passed this so-called “ban the box” rule.
Last week, a New Jersey Senate Committee recommended passage of ban-the-box legislation in the Garden State.
Under the proposed NJ law, an employer may not inquire (orally or in writing) regarding an applicant’s criminal record during the initial employment application process. Although after the initial application process has concluded, then this information would be fair game.
This is the second go-round for potential statewide passage of ban-the-box legislation in NJ. Governor Chris Christie remains open to passing ban-the-box.