Is the EEOC’s focus on background check policies on shaky ground?

The 6th Circuit delivered a rather severe blow to the EEOC over employers' background check policies

In a much-watched case, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on April 9, 2014, handed down its decision in E.E.O.C. v. Kaplan Higher Education Corp. et al., in which it rejected an attempt by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to overturn a district court decision holding that the statistical proof offered by the EEOC to defeat summary judgment in the case was unreliable.

The EEOC had sued Kaplan alleging that Kaplan’s use of credit checks caused it to screen out more African-American applicants than white applicants, creating a disparate impact in violation of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act. In rather harsh language, the 6th Circuit disagreed, finding that the “[t]he EEOC brought this case on the basis of a homemade methodology, crafted by a witness with no particular expertise to craft it, administered by persons with no particular expertise to administer it, tested by no one, and accepted only by the witness himself.”

Contributing Author

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Jill Vorobiev

Jill Vorobiev is a member of Dykema's Labor and Employment Group, with an emphasis on labor and employment litigation. Her practice covers a broad-base, representing corporate clients...

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