Texas Suit Against EEOC Dismissed; Texas Will Appeal

U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings axed Texas’ suit against the EEOC on August 20, 2014, issuing an Order holding that there was no subject-matter jurisdiction for the suit. On August 25, 2014, Texas filed a Notice of Appeal, indicating its intent to turn to the 5th Circuit.

In April 2012, the EEOC issued guidance on the use of criminal background checks in hiring processes. Among other recommendations, the EEOC recommends that employers do not apply a blanket prohibition against hiring applicants with criminal convictions. The Guidance suggest that employers look at each applicant on a case by case basis, considering the type of conviction, the position applied for, the length of time since the conviction, among other considerations. Most importantly, the Guidance states that failure to do so could result in a violation of Title VII if it creates a disparate impact on particular races or national origins.

In November 2013, Texas filed suit against the EEOC, seeking an injunction on the enforcement of the Guidance. Judge Cummings dismissed the suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction this week, holding that Texas had not alleged that “any enforcement action [had] been taken against it by the Department of Justice” and that the Guidance had no legal consequences.

Texas’ suit against the EEOC is only one of several venues in which the Guidance is under fire. We’ll be keeping a close eye out for a 5th Circuit ruling in this case and any other important news.