The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has issued guidance on ‘Complying with Nondiscrimination Provisions: Criminal Record Restrictions and Discrimination Based on Race and National Origin.’
The purpose of the Directive is to provide information to federal contractors and subcontractors and federally-assisted construction contractors and subcontractors (contractors) and to OFCCP personnel about:
- the circumstances in which exclusions of applicants or employees based on their criminal records may violate existing nondiscrimination obligations;
- the Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 31-11 issued on May 25, 2012 to the American Job Center network and other covered entities in the public workforce system by the Department ofLabor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and Civil Rights Center (CRC); and
- the Enforcement Guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on April 25, 2012.
The report states that “about one in three adults now has a criminal history record” and that “on any given day, about 2.3 million people are incarcerated and each year 700,000 people are released from prison and almost 13 million are admitted to – and released from – local jails”.
However, according to the Pew Center on the States, one in 106 white men, one in 36 Hispanic men, and one in 15 African American men are incarcerated. In light of these disparities, the Department of Labor state that “contractors should be mindful of federal anti-discrimination laws if they choose to rely on job applicants’ criminal history records for purposes of employment decisions”.