Obama Admin. Attempting to Ban as Racist Criminal Background Checks For New Hires

Photo Credit: brettneilson

Are criminal background checks racist? That’s the startling new legal theory that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission unveiled this week in lawsuits against employers. It’s another example of how President Obama’s appointees are using regulation to achieve policy goals they can’t get through Congress.

On Tuesday the EEOC accused retailer Dollar General DG -0.04% and a U.S. unit of German car maker BMW BMW.XE +1.26% of violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act by using criminal checks as part of their employment decisions. The logic? Blacks have higher conviction rates than whites, and therefore criminal checks discriminate against blacks.

The EEOC alleges that BMW discriminated against blacks because it screened contractors in South Carolina for convictions for “Murder, Assault & Battery, Rape, Child Abuse, Spousal Abuse (Domestic Violence), Manufacturing of Drugs, Distribution of Drugs, [and] Weapons Violations,” and more blacks than whites are convicted of those crimes.

The suit says 70 black BMW contractors and 18 non-black contractors had criminal convictions, and the company declined to hire them. The suit seeks redress, such as hiring the plaintiffs, back pay, legal costs and more, but only for the black contractors.

In its Dollar General suit, the agency says that 10% of blacks and 7% of non-black applicants failed the retailer’s criminal screening. The EEOC calls that three-percentage-point difference a “gross disparity” that is “statistically significant” enough to qualify as discrimination.

Read more from this story HERE.