The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday accused two major companies of indirectly discriminating against African Americans by using criminal background checks to screen out workers.
The commission said BMW effectively fired 70 Black employees with criminal histories from a facility in South Carolina, even though many had been there for years. One woman with 14 years under her belt was let go after a misdemeanor conviction surfaced that was more than 20 years old and carried a $137 fine, according to the EEOC’s lawsuit.
The agency also alleged that retailer Dollar General revoked job offers to two Black women after conducting criminal background checks. In one case, the EEOC said that the records were inaccurate but that Dollar General declined to reconsider the woman’s application. The other involved a six-year-old drug conviction.
“It is a fairness issue,” said David Lopez, the commission’s general counsel. “Litigation is really, truly the last resort.”