EEOC Cracks Down On Discriminatory Hiring Practices at Motor Vehicle Giant, BMW
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recently announced a lawsuit against German automobile giant, BMW, for alleged discriminatory hiring practices at a South Carolina manufacturing facility. At the heart of the lawsuit, is the company’s criminal background check policy which disproportionately impacts African-American applicants.
BMW who recently switched contractors at this South Carolina plant required all employees to reapply for their jobs (through this new contractor) and undergo renewed criminal background checks. All employees with criminal convictions, regardless of the type of crime or the severity of the crime were denied rehire. The process did not allow applicants the benefit of being rehabilitated or take into account the years of loyal service of several applicants.
In plain numbers, out of 645 experienced employees, 88 were denied rehire. From the 88 applicants who were denied rehire, 70 were black (roughly 80%). This sounded major alarm bells at the EEOC, especially because blacks make up only 55% of the work force in this South Carolina facility. The EEOC feels that BMW violated the Civil Rights Act by using a hiring system that disproportionately screened out African-Americans.
Under federal law, Title VII of the Civil rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C., §2000e et seq.) makes it unlawful for any employer to maintain, promote or encourage discriminatory practices that disproportionately affect certain classes of people based on race, sex, age, or disability, to name a few. California has embodied the federal law by passing the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
It should be noted that employers are allowed to factor in an applicant’s criminal background in their hiring decision, however, at issue here is the fact that BMW did not take into account the nature of the conviction, the age when the crime was committed, and the nature of the job applied for. If you or anyone you know has been unlawfully denied employment based on discriminatory hiring practices, contact Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a confidential consultation.