EEOC to pay nearly $1 Million in attorney’s fees in background check case
On September 4, 2015, a federal court in Maryland ordered the EEOC to pay $938,771 in attorney’s fees to Freeman, a Dallas based company.
Freeman was accused by the EEOC of Title VII violations in conjunction with employee background and credit checks. The court found that the EEOC’s statistical expert was unreliable and, therefore, the statistical evidence would not be used to prove disparate impact bias against minority applicants. Once this evidence was excluded, the court found the EEOC continued to push its claims forward without any good faith basis. The court awarded Freeman the reasonable legal fees it incurred after the EEOC should have known the case had no merit.
A key takeaway from this ruling is that the EEOC is extremely aggressive in its pursuit of illegal background check policies. Employers should review their credit and background check policies to make sure they are in compliance with the law.