A Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision (EEOC v. Kaplan Higher Education Corp.) appears to have lightened the burden for employers using background checks as an employment screening tool.
The initial shift began in April 2012, when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published guidance on using criminal background checks, including credit checks and criminal convictions, to disqualify applicants for employment. For example, the EEOC “strongly pushed” employers to avoid using a yes/no (bright-line rule) criteria on hiring decisions regarding criminal convictions. Instead they were urged to consider the nature of the crime, the time elapsed, and the nature of the job. This places a heavy burden on organizations, especially small companies, who have no HR department, said David E. Smith, Ph.D., president and CEO of EASI·Consult®.
The Sixth Circuit court decision, along with challenges from Congress, have set the stage for the EEOC to modify its guidance or enforcement approach on this issue, Smith said. You can read more about the issue in a recent article from Talent Management magazine here.
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