Restaurant industry concerned about new EEOC restrictions on background checks

Despite a letter from the restaurant industry and nearly 50 other organizations requesting an opportunity for additional input, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last week issued new guidance that could change employers’ ability to use criminal-background checks in hiring.

In advance of the April 25 hearing where the EEOC released the guidance, the NRA and other for-profit and not-for-profit groups wrote to the EEOC to note that “we believe that criminal background checks are an important tool in efforts to help protect employees, customers and the public at-large from workplace violence, fraud and theft.

The EEOC has been studying the issue since last summer but hasn’t solicited significant comment from employers, the letter noted.

“Given more than two decades of reliance of diverse industries on the EEOC’s interpretation of the law, the potential health, safety, and liability issues that can arise for employers, and a legal environment in which certain employers are required to perform such checks and consider their results in different ways, the EEOC’s issuance of guidance without broader input could lead to confusion in the marketplace as well as unintended and adverse consequences.”

The agency delayed review of new guidelines that could affect the use of credit-checks during the employment process.

Check the EEOC guidelines and FAQ on the criminal-background checks.