U.S. files discrimination suit against two major firms

June 12, 2013 at 8:34 AM

WASHINGTON, June 12 (UPI) -- The government has accused two major U.S. companies of using criminal background checks to indirectly screen out African-American workers for hiring or firing.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said it filed lawsuits in federal court charging a BMW facility in South Carolina and small-box retailer Dollar General of violating Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act.

The two are accused of implementing and utilizing criminal background policies that resulted in African-American employees being disproportionately fired or screened out for employment.

Claimants in the BMW lawsuit are identified as employees of UTi Integrated Logistics Inc., which provided logistical services to BMW in South Carolina.

The Dollar General lawsuit, filed in Chicago against Dolgencorp, was based on discrimination charges filed by two rejected black applicants, the EEOC said.

Dolgencorp does business as Dollar General, the largest small-box retailer in the country.

The EEOC said companies have a right to consider criminal history in hiring, The Washington Post reported.

However, guidelines updated last year say that when evaluating job candidates, employers should weigh the nature of a crime, how long ago it occurred and its relation to the position.

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