Recently, the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) revised its criminal background screening policies. The decision was based on an African-American applicant that was turned down by furniture retailer, Rooms To Go. Prior, applicants were required to disclose criminal history on employment applications. With the revision, applicants are now able to disclose any criminal history after a background check has been completed. The applicant is given the opportunity to explain the circumstances behind any criminal history. It allows the employer the ability to make an unbiased decision.

Explanation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is a federal law that prevents employers from discriminating against employees based on sex, race, color, and religion. Title VII applies to all government agencies, private and public colleges and universities, employment agencies, and labor organizations. In this instance, the applicant felt that he was discriminated against because of his race. Rooms To Go withdrew a contingent job offer after learning about the applicant’s criminal history. Also, Rooms To Go failed to have a discussion and inquire about the applicant’s criminal record showing bias to the applicant. The revision in the EEOC’s policy states that applicants will be judged by their qualifications instead of criminal history questions giving the applicant a fair opportunity.

The Significance of Background Screening

The benefits of background checks give employers the ability to be consistent when screening applicants, ensure safety for an organization and reduce employee turnover. Although background checks are useful, in this circumstance a background check provided a chance for discrimination. Collecting thorough and accurate data about an applicant will ensure that a hiring manager can make a fair decision. The EEOC provides a system of checks and balances making the hiring process equally just for all applicants.

How the Revision Impacts the Hiring Process

These changes will ensure that applicants will be judged by their qualifications first, rather than screened based on criminal history questions on the application. Questions about criminal history will be addressed later in the hiring process. Rooms To Go has implemented training on its revised background screening policies to human resource staff. The organization has introduced a mandatory implicit bias training for employees. All these changes are a welcomed improvement in hiring practices.

Overall, Rooms To Go and the EEOC were able to reach an agreement that will help organizations remain unbiased when hiring, giving applicants a fair chance during background screenings. It gives applicants with a criminal history background an opportunity to have an individualized assessment before determining that the applicant is unfit. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is an invaluable resource that is committed to the fair treatment of all workers promoting a positive encounter in the way that organizations conduct business.