Monday, November 15, 2010

EEOC Informal Letter on Criminal Records

On September 10, 2020, EEOC issued an informal discussion letter regarding the use of criminal records in hiring:

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

EEOC Office of Legal Counsel staff members wrote the following letter to respond to a request for public comment from a federal agency or department. This letter is an informal discussion of the noted issue and does not constitute an official opinion of the Commission.

Title VII: Criminal Records
September 10, 2010

Thank you for your letter dated August 19, 2010, in which you expressed concern that your son’s 1986 conviction for felony possession of marijuana is preventing him from finding a job. You contacted me based on a newspaper article about job screening practices.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Commission or EEOC) was created in 1965 to enforce the prohibitions against employment discrimination in the federal civil rights laws. The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination by many private employers on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, or sex. The EEOC looks at criminal records exclusions because they can lead to employment discrimination that violates Title VII. When employers screen out an applicant due to a criminal record, the result typically is that African Americans and Hispanics are disproportionately excluded from employment opportunities.

Full Letter:

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