Improper Use? Macy’s Faces Allegations of Discrimination in Background Check Policies

When completing background checks, ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local consumer reporting laws is only one consideration for an employer. Employers should also keep anti-discrimination laws in mind.

Macy’s, Inc. is currently facing allegations of discrimination against job applicants and employees with criminal records in a pending class-action lawsuit.

The complaint against Macy’s alleges the following:

    • Disparate impact discrimination in violation of both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York City Human Rights Law – The suit claims that “Macy’s criminal history screening policies and practices, which use applicants’ and employees’ criminal histories to screen and exclude them from obtaining and/or continuing employment, have a disparate impact on Black and Latino applicants and employees and are neither job related nor consistent with business necessity.”
    • Discriminatory denial and termination of employment based on criminal history information – The complaint alleges that “Macy’s denied employment … based on … criminal history information,” and by not considering an individual’s criminal history concerning certain mitigating factors, Macy’s violated that law and the New York City Administrative Code.
    • Additional violations of the New York City Human Rights Law and Administrative Code by inquiring into applicants’ criminal histories before extending conditional offers of employment.
  • Of course, the allegations leveled against Macy’s remain only allegations at this stage in litigation – no wrongdoing has been established at this point. Verified Credentials will attempt to provide you with updates to this case as they become available.

    The claims leveled at Macy’s in this lawsuit should serve as a reminder to employers that potential background screening suits are not limited to FCRA or other consumer reporting law violations. Any employer that uses background checks for employment purposes should take care to ensure that their background screening policies comply with anti-discrimination laws as well. If you have any questions about whether your background screening program complies with such laws, it is highly recommended that you speak with trusted legal counsel.

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