Judicial Watch • Govt. Says Credit Checks Are Racially Discriminatory

Govt. Says Credit Checks Are Racially Discriminatory

Govt. Says Credit Checks Are Racially Discriminatory

DECEMBER 22, 2010

 

Bragging that it’s filed a record number of workplace lawsuits on behalf of minorities this year, the Obama Administration is suing a private company for discriminating against certain racial and ethnic groups by checking the credit history of job applicants.

The practice is unlawful and violates a decades-old civil rights act that forbids hiring practices that have a racially discriminatory impact, according to a complaint filed this week by the federal civil rights agency known as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Employers cannot screen out groups of people, even if it’s done “unintentionally,” said the government attorney handling the matter.

The case involves a chain of private, for-profit colleges and training schools known as Kaplan Higher Education Corporation. For several years the company, which has 34,000 employees and hundreds of locations in dozens of countries, has conducted background checks on job applicants that include credit histories for those who may deal with financial matters if hired.

The process has eliminated too many black applicants, according to the feds, and therefore it’s discriminatory and illegal. The lawsuit seeks lost wages, benefits and employment offers for those who weren’t hired because they didn’t pass the credit history screening. In announcing this latest action, the EEOC took the opportunity to boast about filing an unprecedented 99,922 workplace discrimination lawsuits in fiscal year 2010.

The agency has indeed been quite busy filing a number of discrimination lawsuits on behalf of Muslims throughout the United States and joining forces with the Justice Department to discuss prosecuting “anti-Muslim hate speech.” In the last few months alone the EEOC sued companies in Nebraska, California and Colorado for discriminating against Muslims by not accommodating prayer breaks and forbidding headscarves (known as hijabs) on the job.

The agency also bullied a national healthcare firm into paying $450,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging discrimination against Hispanic workers who spoke Spanish at work, even though federal law allows employers to require English on the job. In that lawsuit the government also claimed that the same civil rights act was being violated because the company committed national origin discrimination against the Spanish speakers.


 

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