Pepsi’s $3.13 million settlement with the EEOC for an overly broad background check policy should cause all employers to re-evaluate their current hiring policies. Though background checks can provide invaluable information, if used improperly by employers, it may be the basis of a discrimination lawsuit.
Any employer’s blanket prohibition against hiring someone with a criminal conviction will bring extra scrutiny. Instead, employers should evaluate prospective employees on a case by case basis, weighing the nature and gravity of the criminal offense and the amount of time since the conviction against the job’s specific duties and responsibilities.
The EEOC considers arrest records to be particularly unreliable indicators of guilt and discourages their use in the hiring process. According to the EEOC, because individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty and because state criminal record repositories do not always report the final disposition of arrests, an arrest record is not a useful tool .
- Hiring Controversies, Contractor Screenings, Social Networking and New Legislation Top EmployeeScreenIQ’s 2011 List of Background Screening Trends (prweb.com)
- Pepsi Beverages pays $3M in racial bias case (usatoday.com)
- Pepsi EEOC Settlement – 5 Things Your Organization Can Learn (thethrivingsmallbusiness.com)