Donald Livingston Testimony in Commission on Civil Rights’ Report on Criminal Background Checks

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has released “Assessing the Impact of Criminal Background Checks and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Conviction Records Policy,” its report on the December 2012 briefing to examine “the effects of the [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission]’s updated guidance policy on the use of conviction records by employers on African-American and Latino job applicants, with or without a criminal record.”

Akin Gump labor and employment partner Donald Livingston, himself a former EEOC general counsel, was a speaker at the briefing, and his remarks are reproduced in full in the report.

He begins his remarks (pp.17-19) by noting, “I’ll comment on…the failure of the guidance to recognize trust and reliability as important linkages between law-breaking and work,” a point he underscores in his conclusion:

The EEOC’s new Guidance seeks to reject the common-sense notion that continues to hold sway when the EEOC itself is hiring, that the willingness to follow society’s rules is relevant to whether the employer can depend on the individual to faithfully and honestly perform his or her job duties.  When an employer decides that a lawbreaker cannot be trusted to faithfully perform on the job, the employer should not be branded by the EEOC with the allegation of race or sex discrimination.

To read the full report, please click here.