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EEOC's Criminal Record Guidance One Year Later: Lessons from the Community

NCJ Number
Sharon M. Dietrich
Date Published
September 2013
12 pages
This paper discusses the experiences of Community Legal Services regarding enforcement of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's adoption of updated guidelines governing employer consideration of criminal records.
In 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) adopted an updated version of enforcement guidelines governing an employer's consideration of criminal records. These guidelines reaffirm the position that en employer's use of criminal records in hiring decisions could constitute a case of discrimination based on race or national origin. Studies show that the issue of criminal records presents a serious barrier to employment for ex-offenders. This paper discusses the experiences of Community Legal Services (CLS) regarding these guidelines. CLS provides civil legal services to low income residents in Philadelphia and deals with the effects of these guidelines on their clients' efforts to obtain employment. CLS develops their employment law priorities based on the problems that their clients had encountered. CLS has found that many companies continue to violate the guidelines and reject potential employees for the following reasons: arrests not resulting in convictions, minor offenses, blanket bans, employees with successful track records, and old convictions. Several case studies are presented for review.