An interesting article I came across today discussed a new “guidance” of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision (EEOC) regarding the acquiring of background checks by employers. The “Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964” would make things considerably more difficult for employers to make a decision to hire someone. It seems that where once obtaining criminal background checks on new hires was standard procedure and expected now, this decision will be made more carefully.
Employers will have to decide between obtaining criminal background checks or, supposedly violating this enforcement “guidance” by the EEOC. In addition, they will have to decide between obtaining background checks and the possible consequences of violent, or you name it, behavior from employees after they’re hired. As the article mentioned, and if one stops to think about it even for two-seconds, this new “guidance” could put other people at risk. People who would have otherwise not been hired due to their criminal past being discovered, (and I’m talking serious criminal pasts here, not those who really deserve a second chance) would be hired and you have the potential for violent situations further down the road; or sooner.
The Heritage Foundation, which breaks down the memorandum, states that this new “guidance” will actually “make it more difficult for racial and ethnic minorities to obtain employment.” The thinking here, I think, is that the EEOC assumes that more Hispanics and African-Americans are arrested and convicted than whites and thus this request for a criminal background check affects them in their search for a job. Furthermore, this is a violation of their civil rights in Title VII. If employers are thinking this, and they can’t request a criminal background check, I see the reasoning that they might just simply not hire Hispanics and African-Americans.
This new guidance just seems to make things a lot more complicated. Do you really think that such a “guidance” is necessary?