Pepsi Beverages To Pay $3.1 Million in Criminal Records Misuse Case


Pepsi Beverages Co. will pay $3.1 million to settle federal charges of race discrimination for using criminal background checks to screen out job applicants even if they weren't convicted of a crime, the Associated Press reports. The settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is part of a federal crackdown on hiring policies that can hurt blacks and Hispanics.

The EEOC said the company's policy of not hiring workers with arrest records disproportionately excluded more than 300 black applicants. The policy barred applicants who had been arrested but not convicted and denied employment to others who were convicted of minor offenses. Using arrest and conviction records to deny employment can be illegal if it's irrelevant for the job. A Pepsi Beverages spokesman said a new company policy would take a more “individualized approach” in considering the applicant's criminal history against the particular job being sought.

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