TX Court Rules Against EEOC on Criminal Background Checks

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The federal government can’t enforce in Texas a rule limiting the use of criminal background checks in hiring, a federal judge ruled Thursday, reports the Texas Tribune. As part of a years-long quest to roll back Obama-era regulations, Texas filed suit in 2013 against the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over a policy aimed at making it easier for convicted criminals to find work. In 2012, the commission told employers to use criminal background checks during job screenings only when the checks were job-related or necessary for the business. The commission did not entirely bar the use of background checks.

Some employers argued that this guidance unduly restricted their ability to exclude certain candidates in hiring practices. Texas, where it’s against the law to hire convicted felons at certain state agencies, objected that the 2012 guidance infringed on the state’s ability to uphold its laws. State Attorney General Ken Paxton thanked the court for protecting Texas against “unlawful” hiring guidelines.Texas lost on two other counts. The EEOC may still issue right-to-sue letters in Texas cases, and the court refused to affirm Texas’ right to exclude felons categorically from certain jobs.

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