Tue, August 13th, 2013 - 11:18 am - By Gordon Basichis
Last week a federal judge dismissed the discrimination charges against Freeman, a global marketing solutions company. In 2009, the EEOC filed its discrimination case against Freeman, believing Freeman was discriminating against minorities based on the use of employment candidates’ criminal histories and credit records.
Freeman decided to defend its decisions and take the case to court. Noted the Freeman press release…”Pamela Wills-Ward, Senior Vice President, Human Resources for Freeman was pleased by the ruling and believes Judge Titus said it all in his opinion when he held that “by bringing this action of this nature, the EEOC has placed many employers in the ‘Hobson’s choice’ of ignoring criminal history and credit background, thus exposing themselves to potential liability for criminal and fraudulent acts committed by employees, on the one hand, or incurring the wrath of the EEOC for having utilized information deemed fundamental by most employers.” Judge Titus, in his opinion, went on to say that “something more, far more than what is relied upon by the EEOC in this case must be utilized to justify a disparate impact claim based upon criminal history and credit checks. To require less would be to condemn the use of common sense, and this is simply not what the discrimination laws of this country require.”
As there has been much controversy surrounding EEOC’s legal pursuit of discrimination cases, this case should prove interesting as a benchmark as to what is discriminatory and what is reasonable practices when utilizing background checks.