Friday, August 13, 2010

EEOC Tightening Up on Job Screenings and Disparate Impact Discrimination

As it becomes easier and easier for employers to screen applicants, so does it become easier and easier for disparate impact to occur to groups that commonly have criminal records or credit problems. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is attempting to prevent a wave of unemployable groups of people based upon new-age screening procedures through lawsuits and press releases that seek to curb potential discriminatory pre-screening practices. From the AP article on the issue:

Justice Department statistics show that 38 percent of the U.S. prison population is black, compared with about 12 percent of the general population. In 2008, African-Americans were about six times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. The incarceration rate for Latinos was 2.3 times higher than whites.

If criminal histories are taken into account, the EEOC says employers must also consider the nature of the job, the seriousness of the offense and how long ago it occurred. For example, it may make sense to disqualify a bank employee with a past conviction for embezzlement, but not necessarily for a DUI.

Most companies tend to be more nuanced when they look at credit reports, weeding out those applicants with bad credit only if they seek senior positions or jobs dealing with money. But if the screening process weeds out more black and Hispanic applicants than whites, an employer needs to show how the credit information is related to the job.

About 73 percent of major employers report that they always check on applicants' criminal records, while 19 percent do so for select job candidates, according to a 2010 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.

The same survey found that almost half of major companies conduct credit checks for some job candidates, such as those who would be in a position of financial trust. Another 13 percent perform credit checks for all potential workers.
The lesson to be learned? Employers need to really evaluate and critique their pre-employment screening processes to be sure they are not having an unintended effect of disparate impact because certains protected classes of people are being refused employment for less-than-reasonable reasons.

1 comment:

  1. Hope this happens soon. as unemployable leads to many problem in different countries. thanks for sharing this article!!