Sheetz Faces EEOC Lawsuit Alleging Discriminatory Hiring Practices

EEOC sues Sheetz for discriminatory hiring practices against minority applicants, highlighting concerns over criminal background checks' disparate impact.

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Sheetz Faces EEOC Lawsuit Alleging Discriminatory Hiring Practices

Sheetz Faces EEOC Lawsuit Alleging Discriminatory Hiring Practices

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against Sheetz, a convenience store chain with over 700 outlets in 6 states, alleging discriminatory hiring practices against Black, Native American, and multiracial job applicants since 2015. The EEOC claims that Sheetz's criminal background check policy has had a disproportionate impact on these minority groups, violating federal civil rights law.

According to the lawsuit, Sheetz automatically weeded out applicants deemed to have failed a criminal background check, which disproportionately affected Black, Native American, and multiracial candidates. The EEOC found that Black applicants failed the screening at a rate of 14.5%, while less than 8% of White applicants failed. Native Americans and multiracial applicants failed at a rate of about 13%.

Why this matters: The lawsuit highlights ongoing concerns about the disparate impact of criminal background checks on minority job seekers. It also underscores the need for employers to ensure their hiring practices are non-discriminatory and comply with federal civil rights laws.

The EEOC argues that there are alternative screening methods available that would be less discriminatory. The agency is seeking to force Sheetz to offer jobs to applicants who were unlawfully denied employment and provide back pay, retroactive seniority, and other benefits. The lawsuit was filed after the EEOC's efforts to mediate a settlement with Sheetz failed.

Sheetz has denied the allegations, stating that diversity and inclusion are essential parts of the company's values. "Sheetz does not tolerate discrimination of any kind," the company said in a statement. Sheetz also noted that it has attempted to work with the EEOC for nearly eight years to resolve the dispute, but will now address the claims in court.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, seeks an order for Sheetz to end its current hiring practice and create equal employment policies and programs. If successful, the case could have implications for how employers across the country use criminal background checks in their hiring processes.

Key Takeaways

  • EEOC sues Sheetz for discriminatory hiring practices against minority applicants.
  • Sheetz's criminal background checks disproportionately affected Black, Native American, and multiracial candidates.
  • EEOC seeks to force Sheetz to offer jobs to unlawfully denied applicants and provide back pay.
  • Sheetz denies allegations, claims diversity and inclusion are essential company values.
  • Lawsuit could impact how employers nationwide use criminal background checks in hiring.