Criminal Background Checks

In January 2021, New York City amended the Fair Chance Act to expand protections for both applicants and employees with criminal histories.  The amendments take effect July 29, 2021, adding additional protections for workers in the state. 
Continue Reading New York City Expands Protections For Applicants and Employees With Criminal Histories

Imagine this: you are an employer in California, and you recently hired a new employee.  You ran your own background check, which did not turn up any criminal convictions.  However, the employee’s job duties include submitting online applications to a government agency, which requires the employee to complete a Live Scan background check with the Department of Justice.  The Live Scan reveals that the employee has a past criminal conviction that will prevent her from submitting the applications.  You terminate the employee, and she tells you the conviction was judicially dismissed.  What do you do?
Continue Reading Dismissed Criminal Convictions in California

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regularly releases guidance and advice to employers to aid in compliance with applicable workplace discrimination laws. For example, over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EEOC has frequently issued and updated guidance on how employers can strike the difficult balance between workplace safety and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Continue Reading EEOC Issues Final Rule on Guidance Procedures

Nationwide, 36 states and over 150 municipalities have adopted “ban the box” laws that prohibit employers from asking applicants about their conviction or arrest records on their initial applications.  This article provides updates on recent changes and updates in Hawaii, California, and St. Louis, Missouri.
Continue Reading More States and Localities Enact and Strengthen Ban the Box Laws

On December 17, 2019, the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2019 was signed by the President as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.  This federal “ban-the-box” law proscribes federal agencies and contractors from asking about a job applicant’s criminal history until after they make a conditional offer of employment.
Continue Reading The Federal “Ban the Box” Law Is Enacted While Evidence Suggests that Such Laws Do Not Have the Intended Consequences

On November 22, 2019, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Sterling Infosystems, Inc. regarding allegations that it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act in providing criminal background checks to employers.  Sterling is a “consumer reporting agency” as defined by the FCRA, which provides background check results to employers when requested.
Continue Reading Background Check Vendors Beware: the CFPB’s Authority to Enforce the FCRA Applies to You Too

Dollar General and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a six-year-old Title VII lawsuit.  The EEOC brought its race discrimination claim on behalf of a Charging Party and a class of Black job applicants, alleging that Dollar General’s use of criminal justice history information in the hiring process had a disparate impact on Black applicants.
Continue Reading The EEOC Settles Six-Year-Old Lawsuit Attacking Background Check Policy

The United States District Court for the Western District of New York recently granted an early dismissal of a class action lawsuit prior to class certification. According to plaintiffs in the case, the employer’s criminal background check policy for job applicants illegally discriminated against African-American job candidates.
Continue Reading Federal Court Finds That General Statistical Data Is Not Enough to Show That No-Conviction Hiring Policy Was Discriminatory

After a nearly six-year legal battle, the Fifth Circuit has struck down the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s 2012 Enforcement Guidance on the consideration of criminal history in employment decisions.  On August 6, a three-judge panel held that the Guidance was a substantive rule the EEOC had no authority to issue and that the EEOC can no longer enforce the Guidance or treat it as binding in any respect.
Continue Reading EEOC Criminal History Guidance Struck Down by Fifth Circuit