The said complaint was filed by the agency against the German automaker in June on behalf of the latter’s former employees who claimed that the BMW Manufacturing Co. had violated their civil rights as employees and applicants.
The lawsuit claims that BMW’s criminal background screening had an unequal effect on black employees and applicants since it obviously discriminates African-Americans who have higher arrest and conviction rates than white Americans.
BMW on the other hand has contested that it did not engage in illegal employment practices based on race at one or any of its plant.
However, the EEOC further argued that the automaker’s policy directly affected dozens of employees working for a contractor that staffed a BMW warehouse.
Apparently, the contractor’s policy was not to hire any applicant with a criminal record within the past seven years. Nevertheless, when a new contractor took over the company, BMW asked for a new round up on criminal background checks which resulted to termination of employees with a criminal record from any year.
According to the EEOC, out of 88 workers fired following the said criminal background checks, 70 of them are black. The termination happened despite the fact that those employees had worked for BMW through the contractor for more than a decade.
Meanwhile, BMW affirmed that its policy has “blanket exclusion” regardless of the nature and gravity of crimes, how old they are or whether the crimes are relevant to the company’s nature of work. Its policy, however, doesn’t distinguish between felony and misdemeanor convictions, it added.
Thus, the company is requesting a federal judge to dismiss its employment discrimination complaint based on race and requests that the commission pay its attorney’s fees related with the complaint.
Under the federal law, employment discrimination on the basis of race is illegal. The same policy is also being observed by the California employment laws. Take note that under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), employers are strictly prohibited from discriminating and harassing employees and even applicants due to their race.