Bed Bath & Beyond, which operates more than 1,000 stores nationally and 62 in New York, has agreed to pay $40,000 in restitution to applicants unlawfully denied employment because their hiring restrictions went beyond the scope of the law.
The settlement stems from Bed Bath & Beyond representatives telling applicants at a job fair that the company would not hire anyone with a past felony conviction. Apparently, the retailer did not know it is illegal in the state of New York (and many other states) to automatically disqualify a candidate with a criminal background.
New York law requires employers to review an applicant’s history before making a hiring decision, including whether past convictions have any bearing on the job at hand, how long ago the crime was committed and evidence of rehabilitation.
The retailer will also pay $15,000 each to The Center for Employment Opportunities, The Doe Fund, and The Osborne Association, all of which help ex-convicts get back into the workplace.
This is another reminder to employers to know the laws applicable to the states that they hire in.
For an up-to-date Ban the Box chart, please visit www.carcogroup.com.
If not, your company could quickly be in the same situation as a large trucking conglomerate, which was recently ordered to pay $4.4million to settle a class action suit claiming that it failed to disclose to more than 10,000 job applicants that they can access their consumer reports for free and contest background checks used in the hiring process.
The lead plaintiff also alleged that the trucking company conducted a background report on him without proper authorization and that he did not get the job as a result of that report. The complaint does not disclose the information included in the criminal background check, nor whether it was accurate. It does, however, allege that the company’s decision not to hire him was based on the report without informing him of the reason, which is in violation of the FCRA
The trucking company has since updated its hiring disclosures. Applicants now receive a notice with information on the consumer reporting agency used for background checks and they must sign a statement authorizing the background check.
If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to review your hiring process to ensure compliance with the FCRA. Failure to do so could cause your company to be embroiled in a similar class action suit which is costly in terms of the settlement and the ramifications to your company’s reputation.
In light of the recent volume of FCRA cases relating to background checks used in the hiring process, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Federal Trade Commission co-published a new guidance consolidating the two agencies’ rules on such checks. Visit www.carcogroup.com to view the guidance.
On April 9, 2014, the EEOC lost a 3-to-0 ruling in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in EEOC v. Kaplan Higher Education Corp, indicating that the EEOC sued Kaplan for using the same type of background check that the EEOC itself uses. EEOC had appealed the January 2013 decision from the Northern District of Ohio which had concluded that the EEOC had failed to prove that Kaplan’s screening practices had a “disparate impact” in protected minorities.
At a recent meeting of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners, Chair Jacqueline Berrien of the EEOC indicated that the Commission does not intend to make any revisions in their guidance despite the unfavorable ruling in this case and several others. This decision also takes into consideration the harsh criticism from nine attorneys general, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and many other organizations including Driver iQ and CARCO.
We are excited to announce that Beth Sinkus has joined CARCO as Senior Vice President of Business Development. Beth will work remotely out of her home in Pennsylvania and will report directly to Dave Bennett.
Beth comes to CARCO with over 15 years of experience in sales. Most recently, she held the position of Vice President of Business Development at American Express. Prior to that, Beth held senior sales positions at DHL and Enterprise. She has a wealth of experience and has been the recipient of many prestigious leadership and sales awards.
As Senior Vice President of Business Development, Beth will be responsible for building and mentoring a world-class sales and marketing team. Dave Bennett, CARCO’s Chief Operating Officer, stated, “Under her leadership, I am sure our sales team will be results driven and highly successful.”
Beth received a Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurial Studies & Management from Babson College in Wellesley, MA.
Please join us in welcoming Beth to the CARCO management team.
City of Charlotte has removed the box on city job applications that asks candidates to disclose their criminal records. The change means the city will delay asking about an applicant’s criminal record until later in the hiring process. Officials will continue to conduct background checks on finalists for open positions.
City officials said that the decision about hiring someone with a criminal conviction would depend on the nature of the offense and how it relates to the job opening.
On March 27, 2014, Colorado’s Governor enacted Senate Bill S.B. 102, the “Employment Opportunity Act,” which would add employment positions held at financial institutions to the list of employment positions for which an employer may use consumer credit information for employment purposes. Under current Colorado law, an employer may use consumer credit information for employment purposes if the information is substantially related to the employee’s current or potential job.
The bill would allow bank or financial institution employers to use consumer credit information for employment purposes by amending the definition of “substantially related to the employee’s current or potential job” to include positions held at banks or financial institutions.
View S.B.102 here:
The Rochester City Council is considering banning the criminal history question from its employment application and will require its vendors and contractors to do the same.
The idea is not to eliminate criminal histories from the hiring process but instead to delay that question until after the initial employment interview. The hope is that this will level the playing field and give everyone who is qualified for a job the same opportunity to be considered.
Rochester City Councilman Adam McFadden has sent draft legislation to the city’s legal department that mirrors the Buffalo law. Council will consider the measure at some point this month.
If passed, Rochester will join 9 states, D.C., and 56 cities that have adopted “Ban the Box” policies.
We will keep you posted on the status of this legislation.