Employer Credit-History Checks And Criminal Record Checks Of Job Applicants For Hiring Decisions: The Illegality Under Title VII Disparate Impact Doctrine

Adam T. Klein, ReNika Moore, and Professor Scott A. Moss, May 3, 2007.

The legality under Title VII of employer use of credit-history checks as a job criterion or investigative tool is a question best answered in several parts. First, are employee credit-history checks a sufficiently widespread practice to merit the issuance of written guidance by the EEOC? Second, are employee credit-history checks an employment practice that has a disproportionately negative impact on African-Americans (and other protected groups as well)? Third, are employee credit-history checks a practice that is job-related and consistent with business necessity? Fourth, and perhaps most broadly, would barring the use of employee credit-history information in determining employment suitability comport with the goals and purposes of Title VII? Each question will be answered in turn…