Texas's Challenge to EEOC Guidance on Background Checks Continues

by Lisa Nagele-Piazza, J.D., SHRM

A federal appellate court recently heard oral arguments in a case challenging the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC's) guidelines limiting the use of criminal background checks in employment decisions.

The state of Texas sued the federal government, claiming that the EEOC exceeded its authority and that the guidelines, issued in 2012, conflict with Texas laws barring the employment of workers with felony convictions for certain positions. Attorneys for the state argued that Texas should be able to impose categorical bans on hiring workers with criminal backgrounds.

In 2018, a federal district court judge deemed the guidance invalid because it was issued without notice or opportunity for public comment. So the EEOC can't enforce the guidance in Texas. However, the court declined to rule that Texas may categorically exclude applicants with felony convictions from certain jobs.