EEOC Sues Over Criminal Background Checks

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Another applicant to Dollar General was fired by the company despite the fact that a report showing she had a felony conviction was wrong, the EEOC said. Even after she advised Dollar General of the mistake, the company did not reverse its decision to fire her, the agency claimed.

“Overcoming barriers to employment is one of our strategic enforcement priorities,” EEOC spokeswoman Justine Lisser said. “We hope that these lawsuits will further educate the public and the employer community on the appropriate use of conviction records.”

A Dollar General spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The EEOC says it attempted to resolve both cases through settlement before filing lawsuits. It is seeking back pay for the rejected applicants and for those fired, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.

The new EEOC guidelines issued last year urge employers to give job applicants a chance to explain past criminal misconduct before they are rejected. It also recommends that employers stop asking about past convictions on job applications.

Some employers see the checks as a way to weed out unsavory workers and prevent negligent hiring claims.

(Photo: AP)

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