Excerpted from littler.com, by Rod M. Fliegel and Allen P. Lohse

In April 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued updated “Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” The guidance concerns how, in the EEOC’s view, Title VII restricts an employer’s discretion to consider criminal records for hiring decisions.

What followed was a flurry of new EEOC charges and broad-based investigations relating to employment criminal records checks. Despite some setbacks in the courts, the EEOC is continuing enforcement activities. The EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan for Fiscal Years 2017-2021 refers to “Eliminating Systemic Barriers in Recruitment and Hiring” (e.g., use of “screening tools” and “background screens”) and notes this as one of the agency’s “National Priorities” for the next several years.

The EEOC’s longstanding lawsuit against Dollar General is an ongoing example of its commitment to these actions. Earlier this month, an Illinois federal judge largely denied Dollar General’s attempt to force the EEOC to provide additional evidence in support of its claim that the employer’s background check policy disparately excluded African-American workers from employment. This ruling significantly limited the discovery burdens placed on the EEOC for the case and may only strengthen the EEOC’s stated resolve to pursue future similar actions against employers.

Read the full post here.