By: Jason Riley (The Background Investigator)
Last month, a federal court ruled that companies may use criminal background checks in hiring without being guilty of racial discrimination. The case dates to 2009, when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Freeman CO., an event management firm. The EEOC alleged that the company’s criminal background checks for job applicants discriminated blacks, who in general are more likely than other grounds to have criminal histories. Judge Roger Titus of the U.S. District Court in Maryland disagreed. In his Aug. 9th ruling, he said that checking a person’s criminal history is “a legitimate component of a reasonable hiring process.” Employers “have a clear incentive to avoid hiring employees who have a proven tendency to defraud or steal from their employers, engage in workplace violence, or who otherwise appear to be untrustworthy and unreliable.”
Research shows that employers who preform background checks are more likely to hire black applicants than employers who do not. It can also be noted that some firms check to gain information and not necessarily to exclude altogether the hiring of ex-offenders.