New, York, July 1, 2014- A New York federal court certified an unprecedented class action lawsuit which alleges the U.S. Census Bureau unlawfully used arrest records to screen out approximately 250,000 African Americans from temporary jobs, during the 2010 Census. The suit, pursued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, alleges that the criminal background check policy employed by the Census Bureau implemented unreasonable, and highly insurmountable, hurdles for applicants with prior arrest records -that were indiscriminate towards the nature of the arrest, length of time that has passed since the arrest, or whether the arrest led to a criminal conviction.
The majority of applicants in the class action case received a form letter from the government agency, advising them to provide official court documentation for all arrests and convictions within 30 days. The lawsuit contends that the 30-day letter was ambiguous in nature and failed to offer basic information, such as the arrest for which documentation was requested. Subsequently, it alleges that the Bureau illegally screened out applicants with significantly old arrest records for minor infractions and/or un-convicted offences, and that many of the excluded job seekers met the federal standards for having no criminal history. This process, previously foreseen by the EEOC, ultimately led to non-compliance and rejection for the applicants, as less than 1% of the more than 250,000 African Americans that received the letter was hired.
A systematic and fair hiring process, with routine examination of criminal background check policies to ensure fairness and compliance, is essential. The Cedalius Group understands this. Recognizing that certain communities are disproportionately impacted by disparities within the background screening process, Cedalius is committed to minimizing these occurrences by offering:
- A customized Decision Matrix– a dynamic and unbiased point allocation system used to rate criminal infractions. This system identifies and analyzes offenses with criteria set by the client.
- Expert consultation thoughtfully designed to lead clients away from potential liability.
- Comprehensive background research that is tailored to fit every need.
The Cedalius Group offers insight into the background screening industry for educational purposes. We always recommend you consult with your legal counsel to determine practices that best suit your business needs.