I obtained employment through a staffing agency.
Part of the application process included signing documents that granted permission for the staffing agency to conduct a criminal background check.
I started to work at the employer on a Monday.
Two days later I received a phone call from the staffing agency.
The staffing agency had the results of my background check. I was asked about a felony (burglary) I was convicted of in the year 2000.
The phone call took me by surprise and I offered a hasty explanation.
The staffing agency responded negatively and then said they would call my supervisor to ask if I could continue working.
The staffing agency called me back within 20 minutes and reported that because of that felony I was convicted of 15 years ago that my employment was terminated.
It appears that none of the following were taken into consideration:
– The facts or circumstances surrounding the offense or conduct;
– The number of offenses for which the individual was convicted;
– Older age at the time of conviction, or release from prison;
– Evidence that the individual performed the same type of work, post conviction,with the same or a different employer, with no known incidents of criminal conduct;
– The length and consistency of employment history before and after the offense or conduct;
– Rehabilitation efforts, e.g., education/training;
– Employment or character references and any other information regarding fitness for the particular position;
– Whether the individual is bonded under a federal, state, or local bonding program.
QUESTION: Do I have a legal basis for filing a FEPA/EEOC complaint? Does none of the above considerations even matter? What can I do about this? Thank you.
Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.
You may have the basis of a legitimate complaint under the Fair Employment Practices Agency (FEPA). FEPA’s guidelines were established by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The EEOC has several policies regarding an employer’s treatment of prospective employee based on prior criminal acts. Under Title VII
“…covered employers must treat similarly situated individuals the same with respect to employment opportunities if they have comparable criminal records.”
To know if your employer is a “covered employer” under FEPA/EEOC rules go here.
Additionally, because disproportionate numbers of African Americans and Hispanics have criminal records, the use of such information (prior criminal acts) to make employment decisions is likely to have a disparate impact on them. Under Title VII, this means that a criminal record exclusion must be “job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.”
EEOC identifies three (3) factors to consider when making an employment decision. Those factors are:
(1) the nature and gravity of the offense(s);
(2) the time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence; and
(3) the nature of the job held or sought.
If you feel you are an employee covered under FEPA and wish to file a complaint go to this page on the EEOC website.
Learn more here: Employment Discrimination Lawsuits
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.
Best of luck with your claim,
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