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Observers say two still-pending 2013 cases may directly address the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's policy on criminal background checks in hiring.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. BMW Manufacturing Co. L.L.C.:
The lawsuit involving Spartanburg, South Carolina-based BMW Manufacturing, filed in federal court in the same city, concerns BMW's use of a contractor, Columbia, South Carolina-based UTi Integrated Logistics Inc., which provided logistical services that included warehouse and distribution assistance, transportation services and manufacturing support.
When UTi ended its contract with BMW in 2008, BMW told the unidentified new contractor to perform new criminal background checks on UTi workers who were reapplying to continue working at BMW, according to the EEOC.
The checks found that several UTi workers had certain criminal convictions in violation of BMW's policy. They were terminated, although many had worked at the BMW facility for years, the EEOC said.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Dolgencorp L.L.C. d/b/a Dollar General:
The EEOC lawsuit filed in Chicago federal court charges that Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based Dolgencorp conditioned its job offers on criminal background checks, which resulted in a disparate impact against blacks.
According to one example provided by the EEOC, the company revoked its job offer to one applicant after it learned she had a 6-year-old conviction for possession of a controlled substance, a conviction Dollar General used as a disqualification factor for 10 years.
The courts are now dealing with discovery-related issues in both cases.
Employers are struggling to deal with vague U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines on how they should conduct criminal background checks.