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EEOC: Some criminal background checks are racist

(Raw Story) The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) filed lawsuits on Tuesday alleging that automaker BMW and budget grocery store chain Family Dollar discriminated against African American employees and applicants by denying them work based upon the results of criminal background checks.

The agency said in an advisory that while background checks themselves are not racist, they way they were applied — without individual consideration for each case — is.

More than 90 percent of employers in the U.S. rely on criminal background and credit checks to screen employees, The Wall Street Journal noted. The EEOC recommends that employers not solely rely upon the data from the background checks, and that consideration be given to individual workers and applicants, along with the nature of their crime and how long ago it occurred.