On January 23, 2009, Outten & Golden’s client filed a class-wide race discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Bellevue Hospital and New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation alleging that HHC/Bellevue discriminates against African-American and Hispanic job applicants by illegally using criminal history reports in making hiring decisions. The charge alleges that Outten & Golden’s client interviewed for a clerical job at Bellevue/HHC, Bellevue/HHC offered her the job, but later revoked the offer of employment because she did not meet its “background requirements.” A blanket ban on hiring formerly incarcerated individuals has a disparate impact on African Americans and Hispanics because a disproportionate percentage of ex-offenders are racial minorities. An employer may not use hiring criteria that have a disparate impact on racial minorities unless it can show that those criteria are “job related” and “consistent with business necessity.” New York City and State laws also prohibit employers from discriminating against job applicants on account of their criminal convictions unless there is a “direct relationship” between the conviction and the job at issue. Outten & Golden is currently investigating similar claims at major retail chains and companies.
(*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.)