A Southern California trucking firm has agreed to settle a discrimination case involving an African American man denied work as a driver because of his criminal record, after a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The man applied for a job in 2009 at J.B. Hunt Transport in San Bernardino. EEOC officials contend he lost out based on a criminal conviction unrelated to potential job duties.
Lawyers at the federal agency reviewed J.B. Hunt's policy when handling applicants with conviction records, noting that "blanket prohibitions" do not comply with government guidelines.
As part of a five-year agreement between J.B. Hunt and the EEOC, company officials "will revise if necessary and provide training concerning its hiring and selection policies and practices" in keeping with the federal agency's guidance.
Those guidelines recommend that employers evaluate the nature and gravity of an offense, the time that has passed since conviction or completion of a sentence, and the nature of the job applicants are seeking.
"We commend J.B. Hunt for correcting its policy on criminal convictions," said Olophius Perry, district director of the EEOC's Los Angeles office, "and for taking measures toward ensuring equal employment opportunities for all workers."
J.B. Hunt and the man also negotiated a private settlement.