J.B. HUNT SETTLES WITH EEOC ON RACE DISCRIMINATION BASED ON CRIMINAL CONVICTION RECORDS

The Settlement was announced on 6/28/13 and may be viewed on the EEOC Website at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/6-28-13c.cfm. The details on this one are skimpy. In 2009, an African American candidate for a truck driver position at a J.B. Hunt facility in San Bernardino, CA was denied employment based on his criminal conviction records. There were no specifics relating to the actual criminal conviction(s) other than the EEOC’s assertion that it/they were unrelated to the job duties. The excluded applicant settled privately with the company.

More importantly perhaps was the EEOC’s examination of potential blanket prohibitions, which the EEOC warns against based on its Policy Guidance reissued on 3/25/10 (see http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm). Accordingly J.B. Hunt agreed to a five-year plan to review its policies and revise them, if necessary. J.B. Hunt agreed to provide additional training relating to its hiring and selection policies in accordance with the Policy Guidance, and the EEOC will monitor compliance with the conciliation agreement.

Interestingly, Olophius Perry, district director of the EEOC's Los Angeles District Office, commended J.B. Hunt “for correcting its policy on criminal convictions and for taking measures toward ensuring equal employment opportunities for all workers." Perry also stated that "employers should follow J.B. Hunt's lead in reviewing and revising existing arrest and conviction policies so that they comply with federal guidelines."

by Art Gutman, Ph.D., Professor, Florida Institute of Technology

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