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Backgroundchecks.com
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Last week at the annual NAPBS conference, backgroundchecks.com announced the launch of a web video series and demonstrated the strengths of the multi-jurisdictional database search through a video display at our booth. Many of our clients who viewed the new video mentioned not only how helpful the video would be in educating their clients who may not understand the value of using a multi-jurisdictional database but how helpful it would be as a sales training tool for their staff.

backgroundchecks.com is committed to providing educational tools to our customers and additional marketing concepts for our resellers to help them educate clients and drive more revenue and we are excited to be able to offer videos like this.
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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced settlement of a charge it brought against Pepsi Beverages on behalf of black applicants whom Pepsi had declined to hire due to arrests that had not resulted in convictions or to minor convictions that were not relevant to the position. Pepsi will pay over $3.1m and offer jobs to anyone in the class who is still interested in working for Pepsi.

The EEOC appears to have successfully pressed two theories:

1. According to the EEOC, “Pepsi’s former policy also denied employment to applicants from employment who had been arrested or convicted of certain minor offenses. The use of arrest and conviction records to deny employment can be illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when it is not relevant for the job, because it can limit the employment opportunities of applicants or workers based on their race or ethnicity.” This is consistent with the EEOC’s long-held position that, to hold a conviction record against an applicant, and employer must show that excluding the applicant based on the conviction is job-related and consistent with business necessity. In explaining this position, the EEOC cited its long-standing guidance: “When employers contemplate instituting a background check policy, the EEOC recommends that they take into consideration the nature and gravity of the offense, the time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence, and the nature of the job sought in order to be sure that the exclusion is important for the particular position. Such exclusions can create an adverse impact based on race in violation of Title VII.”

2. According to the EEOC, “Under Pepsi’s former policy, job applicants who had been arrested pending prosecution were not hired for a permanent job even if they had never been convicted of any offense.” This is consistent with the EEOC’s long-held position that, to hold a non-conviction against an applicant, an employer must do something beyond finding the criminal history record to determine that the applicant actually committed the offense. Once the employer concludes that the applicant actually committed the offense, then the employer must ensure that excluding the applicant is both job-related and consistent with business necessity, just as it would for a conviction record.

The EEOC’s press release on the subject is available at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/1-11-12a.cfm.

Pamela Davata, an attorney who represents the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), commented on the action in an Associated Press article available at http://tinyurl.com/7bjamxv.

For more information on how this may affect your screening program and how backgroundchecks.com can help, please contact your client relationship representative.
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The EEOC has recently made available an opinion letter on the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and its effect on hiring practices. As with all other protected classes (e.g. race, gender, age), hiring criteria that have a disparate impact on those with disabilities are only allowed only if job-related and necessary. In the specific scenario referenced in the letter, the EEOC states that “Under the ADA, a qualification standard, test, or other selection criterion, such as a high school diploma requirement, that screens out an individual or a class of individuals on the basis of a disability must be job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity. A qualification standard is job related and consistent with business necessity if it accurately measures the ability to perform the job’s essential functions (i.e. its fundamental duties).” According to the EEOC, the main difference under the ADA (compared to other anti-discrimination laws) is, “Even where a challenged qualification standard, test, or other selection criterion is job related and consistent with business necessity, if it screens out an individual on the basis of disability, an employer must also demonstrate that the standard or criterion cannot be met, and the job cannot be performed, with a reasonable accommodation.” Employers should review their hiring criteria and determine whether each job requirement is necessary for the job to be done properly and eliminate those job requirements that are not necessary. For more information on how this may affect your screening program and how backgroundchecks.com can help, please contact our client relationship representatives.
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