Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Disclaimer: The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. If you have questions regarding your background check policy or a particular record, we advise you to consult legal counsel.
The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency responsible for enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, and other categories.
The EEOC has set out guidance that outlines how employers may consider the results of a particular background check. These guidelines are intended to prevent discrimination in hiring on the basis of protected class. In particular, EEOC guidance discourages background check policies (such as blanket bans) that may have a disparate impact on particular racial groups, even if the policy is applied across all job candidates.
In order to avoid disparate impact and potential violates of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the EEOC that employers conduct an individualized assessment when considering hiring candidates with a criminal record, taking into account several factors, including:
The type and severity of the offense
The age of the convictions and/ or completion of the sentence
The nature of the job the applicant is being considered for (and the relevance of the offense to the job)
Compliance with EEOC guidance can be complex. In some jurisdictions, EEOC guidance has been codified into law. We recommend consulting your legal counsel if you have questions about how EEOC guidance may affect your hiring practices.