EEOC Issues Enforcement Guidance And Best Practices For Employer

Posted by on Sep 7, 2012 in Hiring Criteria

by Susan L. Swatski, Esquire (email / link to bio)

For the first time in 25 years, on April 25, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) refined its Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the “Guidance”). The Guidance advises that the mere existence of a criminal record without more should not support the wholesale exclusion of otherwise qualified people from the workforce. Under the Guidance, an employer’s use of arrest and conviction information from background checks has to be “narrowly tailored” to the specific job.

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Age Discrimination in the Philadelphia Fire Department

Posted by on Feb 1, 2009 in Age Discrimination, Hiring Criteria, People In the News

By: Tiffanie Benfer, Esq.
What kind of legal advice did the Philadelphia Fire Department rely on when it instituted a policy of not hiring fire fighters over the age of 40? Seven applicants proved that they were highly qualified and could pass the physical test, but they were still turned down solely because of age. I’m gratified, but not surprised, that the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission (PHRC) found last week that the policy violates the state prohibition of age discrimination.
Here’s a link to the story in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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Life Sentence: When Should a Criminal Record Bar Employment?

Posted by on Nov 26, 2008 in Criminal Records, Hiring Criteria, Racial Discrimination

By: Tiffanie Benfer, Esq.
When may an employer lawfully use information about an employee’s criminal history? May an employer refuse to hire any employee with a conviction in his or her past? The EEOC conducted an open meeting last week to discuss these questions. It is likely that the EEOC will issue more comprehensive guidelines addressing these issues in the future.
Policies that prevent the hiring of employees with a history of a criminal conviction raise questions because those policies have a disparate impact on African American employees, who are statistically more likely to have a criminal record. Many employers would prefer not to hire any employees with a criminal history – in fact, a recent survey showed that more than 40 % of employees said that they would not ever hire someone with a criminal record. Fear of a suit based on negligent hiring makes it reasonable for employers to be concerned about employees with criminal records. Is that discriminatory? And, if it does have a disparate impact on persons of color, is it allowed anyway? There is no absolutely clear answer in the statutes or case law, but there are hints and guidance

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