EEOC complaint: Macy’s background check policies are discriminatory

A nonprofit organization filed a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming the department store chain’s background check policies discriminate against applicants and employees with criminal histories.

The Fortune Society – a nonprofit social service and advocacy organization who seek to support successful re-entry from prison – filed the complaint claiming that Macy’s rejects otherwise qualified applicants and fires existing employees based on their criminal histories, a practice the group claims violates the Civil Rights Act.

The Fortune Society is asking the EEOC to investigate the claims and to determine whether it is reasonable to believe that discrimination occurred.

While federal law does not prohibit employers from asking about your criminal history, federal EEO laws do prohibit employers from discriminating when they use criminal history information. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from treating job applicants or employees with the same criminal records differently because of their race, national origin, or another protected characteristic.

Furthermore, to curb disparate impact discrimination, the law states that if an employer’s use of criminal record histories disproportionately excludes people of a particular race or national origin, the employer must show that the exclusions are job-related and consistent with necessity.

Source:, 5/17/2017

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