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To Screen or Not to Screen: Navigating the Muddy Waters of the EEOC's Criminal Background Check Guidance

February 2014
Employment Law Notes
Since its issuance in 2012, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (“EEOC” or “Commission”) guidance on the use of criminal records in hiring has been a source of confusion and criticism from employers and the legal community alike. In 2013, the attorneys general of nine states sent a letter to the Commission challenging the EEOC guidance and urging it to withdraw two lawsuits it had initiated enforcing its stance against two employers’ use of bright-line criminal background checks in the hiring process. In direct response to the attorneys generals’ challenge, the Commission recently issued additional informal guidance providing further clarification of what it views as an employer’s legal obligation when using criminal history information to make hiring decisions.