AG Schmidt: Ban on employee background checks a ‘gross federal overreach’

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has joined with eight other state attorneys general in objecting to recent lawsuits filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against companies that use criminal background checks as part of the hiring of new employees.

The attorneys general sent a letter expressing concern about two lawsuits in which EEOC alleges that employers’ use of criminal background checks of potential employees constitutes unlawful employment discrimination under federal law.

“Having a criminal record does not make a person part of a protected class of citizens under federal law, and the EEOC should not act as if it does,” Schmidt said. “This aggressive new approach to applying non-discrimination law goes far beyond what Congress intended. Kansas employers already deal with countless regulations, and the last thing we need is another federal agency micromanaging how employers run their affairs.”

The letter from the attorneys general states that the EEOC lawsuits, filed against Dollar General and BMW Manufacturing Co. LLC, are “misguided and a quintessential example of gross federal overreach.” The attorneys general urge the EEOC to reconsider the lawsuits and the published agency guidance driving the lawsuits, which assert that the use of generally applicable criminal background checks as a screening tool in the hiring process will often violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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