EEOC Offers New Guidance on Arrest and Conviction Records

Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor

On April 25, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a new Enforcement Guidance affecting employer use of arrest and conviction records.

Most notably, the EEOC discusses how an employer's use of an individual's criminal history in making employment decisions could violate Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act.

The policy guidance also focuses on differences between the treatment of arrest records and conviction records.

The EEOC's pronouncement offers more in-depth analysis than what it previously had given on the issue.

It includes practical examples of situations where job applicants with similar qualifications and criminal records were treated differently because of their race or national origin.

The Enforcement Guidance follows several cases in which the Commission had accused employers of racial discrimination with their use of criminal background checks to screen out applicants.

A new XpertHR podcast features an interview with EEOC Assistant Legal Counsel Carol Miaskoff about takeaway lessons from the Enforcement Guidance, as well as a look at one state's novel approach to the use of arrest and conviction records.

The Enforcement Guidance and an accompanying Question-and-Answer document about it are available on the EEOC's website.

Continue to check XpertHR for the latest news on this and other key HR compliance issues.

Additional Resources

EEOC, CORI Arrest and Conviction Podcast

Criminal Offender Record Information Policy

Recruiting and Hiring > Preemployment Screening and Testing