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ASA Supports Efforts to Promote Employers’ Use of Criminal Background Checks

American Staffing Association (03/02/12) Anne Duffy

ASA is participating in a coalition of business groups concerned that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s plans to revise its longstanding guidance on criminal history checks will make it more difficult for employers to review the criminal histories of job applicants and volunteers. Earlier this month, the coalition sent a letter to federal lawmakers emphasizing the positive aspects of criminal background checks and the concerns over the potential guidance that may inhibit employers’ use of these checks. Part of the concern is that the EEOC does not intend to publish its revisions for public comment prior to issuance, which would preclude meaningful consideration of employers’ concerns.

EEOC has a longstanding position that an employer’s policy of excluding an individual from employment because the individual has a criminal conviction record is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, unless the policy is justified by a business necessity. Advocates for limiting employers’ use of background checks contend that the use of background checks adversely affects members of minority populations that are statistically more likely to have criminal histories.