Federal Prosecutors Sue a Chain of Grocery Stores for Being Unfair Because of Background Checks

Federal Prosecutors Sue a Chain of Grocery Stores for Being Unfair Because of Background Checks

An official from the federal government has sued the Sheetz convenience store chain, saying that the company discriminated against black job applicants by not hiring people who failed a history check.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the store’s long-standing process for screening new applicants hurts Black and Native American applicants more than other candidates.

Sheetz had over 700 shops in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, and North Carolina, among other states.

The case doesn’t say Sheetz did this because of racism. Instead, it says that using criminal background checks breaks Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which says that you can’t be discriminated against at work because of your race, sex, religion, or national origin.

The agency found that 14.5% of Black job applicants failed the company’s criminal history check and were turned down for the job. 13.5% of mixed job applicants also failed, and 13% of Native American job applicants were also turned down.

The EEOC’s case said that less than 8% of white applicants were turned down for jobs because their criminal records did not pass.

EEOC lawyer Debra M. Lawrence said in a statement, “Federal law requires that employment practices that have an unfair effect on people because of their race or other protected classifications must be shown by the employer to be necessary to ensure the safe and efficient performance of the jobs at issue.”

“Even if it can be shown that the practice is necessary, it is still illegal if there is another practice that is just as good at helping the employer reach their goals and has fewer discriminatory effects,” Lawrence said.

The EEOC is a separate organization that enforces federal laws against discrimination in the workplace. They are trying to get Sheetz to hire people who were wrongfully turned down for jobs and give them back pay, seniority, and other perks.

The EEOC began its investigation of the convenience store chain after two job applicants said they were treated unfairly at work.

It was announced Thursday that Sheetz “does not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”

“Inclusion and diversity are important parts of who we are.” We are looking into these claims carefully. A company spokesman, Nick Ruffner, said in a statement, “We have tried to work with the EEOC for almost eight years to find common ground and settle this dispute.”

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