The US government sued BMW Manufacturing for allegedly discriminatory use of criminal background checks for hiring.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint filed yesterday, June 11th, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the company has used some of those checks in a way that was biased against African American workers and job applicants.
BMW Manufacturing, which is a unit of BMW AG, used the checks to refuse re-employment to 69 African American employees working for a logistical services company which helped staff the facility in Spartanburg when they tried in 2008 to transfer to another logistics company.
“Claimants were denied access to BMW’s facility without any individualized assessment of the nature and gravity of their criminal offenses, the ages of the convictions or the nature of their respective positions,” the commission alleged.
Last year the EEOC issued an Enforcement Guidance bulletin which said that all employers that use a criminal history check to hire people may violate the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC added that 80% of the workers that were denied plant access after their background checks have been checked were African Americans. The regulator will seek a court order barring the company from continuing to use this practice or a similar one, without analyzing each employee’s individual circumstances.