Some employers use criminal background checks as a matter of course before hiring people, regardless of whether the nature of an applicant's criminal past had anything to do with the job they would be doing. As we've discussed before, however, the broad, blind use of criminal background checks may result in a disparate impact against minority applicants, because minorities are disproportionately likely to have criminal records, even when their behavior is no different from their white peers.
In May, Governor Dayton signed into law a bill that extends Minnesota’s “Ban the Box” law to private employers. “Ban the Box” was first passed in 2009 but only applied to public employers, but it will now require private employers to eliminate check-boxes about criminal convictions from job applications by the end of the year.
A retailer called Dollar General and BMW have been accused of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. BMW has been accused of automatically excluding prospective employees allegedly convicted of a crime. The company has also been accused of not taking into consideration the nature of the supposed crimes.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has just announced that it is changing the way it will investigate pay discrimination by federal contractors. The mission of the OFCCP is to ensure federal contractors comply with equal employment policies, and it believes the change will bring federal contract compliance more in line with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The directive changing the enforcement policy went into effect March 1.
A group of African-American agents claims it can prove that between 1995 and 2005, the U.S. Secret Service engaged in race discrimination -- knowingly or unknowingly -- by using a candidate evaluation program that tended to limit the promotion of African Americans. Eight current and former agents have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, which was responsible for the program, and this week a federal judge approved their request to certify the lawsuit as a class action.