Pepsi to Pay $3.13 Million for Improper Use of Criminal Records

January 13th, 2012 by JBWK

Pepsi will pay $3.13 million to settle charges of nationwide hiring discrimination based on its improper use of criminal background checks. It has also changed its employment and hiring policies.

As readers know, the EEOC has recently indicated its interest in employers using criminal background checks to screen applicants. As we mentioned several months ago, the EEOC wants employers to use discretion in screening applicants, making sure their convictions are relevant to the job and recent enough to warrant denying an applicant.

Pepsi’s offending policy denied jobs to all applicants who had been convicted of certain minor offenses. It also prohibited hiring while an applicant had pending charges, even if the applicant was later found not guilty. The EEOC alleged that it disproportionately denied employment opportunities to African-American applicants without a justifiable basis relevant to the positions for which they applied.

Be careful when relying on criminal background checks to screen applicants, and make sure your policies are tailored to fit the position.


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