Excerpted from The National Law Review By U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Company Resolves Failure-to-Hire Racial Discrimination Charge
LOS ANGELES – Pier 1 Imports, an international home furnishings and specialty retailer in the U.S. and Canada, has reached an agreement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) through its conciliation process to resolve a race discrimination charge for $20,000 and injunc¬tive relief, the federal agency announced today.
The EEOC charged that an applicant was denied a position as an assistant manager at the company’s Montclair, Calif., location after a criminal background check was conducted. The EEOC’s investigation determined that the company’s use of criminal records limited the employment opportunity of the job applicant based on his race, black, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Without admitting liability and to demonstrate its support of Title VII, the Fort Worth, Texas-based company agreed to enter into a two-year conciliation agreement with the EEOC and the alleged victim, thereby avoiding litigation. In addition to the $20,000 the company will pay the complainant, Pier 1 Imports has reaffirmed its commitment to Title VII by revising its policies and procedures, eliminating its background screening process, and removing the conviction question from its employment application. The EEOC will monitor compliance with this agreement.
“Employers should review their criminal background check policies to ensure they are inclusive for all qualified candidates, regardless of race,” said Rosa Viramontes, director of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office. “We commend Pier 1 Imports for resolving this matter without litigation and for putting in place measures to prevent discrimination during the hiring and promotion process.”
Christine Murray, executive vice president, human resources and chief human resources officer at Pier 1, said, “We are pleased to resolve this matter and remain committed to providing equal employment opportunities to associates and applicants for employment.”
Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring is one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).