States Say “No” to Ludicrous Federal Rule That Employers Can’t Check into New Hires’ Criminal Backgrounds

Photo Credit: APAttorneys general across the country are fighting back against new Obama administration guidelines on businesses using criminal background checks for job applicants and two federal lawsuits that followed, calling both “a quintessential example of gross federal overreach.”

The nine attorneys general sent the letter Wednesday to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which in April 2012 voted in favor of the new guidelines that warn such checks can discriminate against African-Americans because they being are arrested at a disproportionate rate compared to the rest of the U.S. population.

Fifteen months after issuing the guidelines — which included the recommendation that businesses eliminate such policies — the commission filed lawsuits against discount retailer Dollar General and a BMW facility in South Carolina for alleged civil rights violations.

“We believe that these lawsuits and your application of the law, as articulated through your enforcement guidance, are misguided and a quintessential example of gross federal overreach,” the attorneys general wrote in a nine-page letter to EEOC Chairman Jacqueline Berrien and the agency’s four commissioners.

The June 11 suits allege Dollar General violated the civil rights of two applicants. In the one case, the applicant alleged she was denied employment even though a felony conviction was incorrectly attributed to her.

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