Sixth Circuit upholds $750,000 fee award against EEOC

As mentioned yesterday, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has either had a stretch of really, really bad luck in court lately, or else it’s been caught out by a series of judges for outrageously aggressive litigation sometimes crossing over into misconduct. Among the recent cases, the Sixth Circuit upheld a fee award of $750,000 to a company that the commission had sued over a purported policy of not hiring convicted felons. Here’s Molly DiBianca of the Delaware Employment Law Blog:

The EEOC “investigated” the Charge, issuing multiple subpoenas and obtaining more than 15,000 pages of documents. Although the evidence did not seem to support the allegations in the Charge, EEOC disagreed and filed suit. The suit, asserted on a class of individuals, alleged that the company’s policy prohibited the hiring “of any person with a criminal record,” which disparately impacted Black applicants.

The trouble, though, was that PeopleMark did not have such a policy. Then the EEOC identified approximately 250 individuals it contended to be within the class of aggrieved persons. Well, as it turned out, PeopleMark had hired 57 of the individuals and some others did not have a criminal background in the first place.

More from Eric Paltell/Kollman & Saucier; DeGroff & Maatman; Greg Mersol, Baker Hostetler; EEOC v. PeopleMark.


  • If I’m reading this right, PeopleMark won the judgement because they didn’t have the policy that the EEOC alleged.

    So are employers still barred from using criminal background checks to determine the suitability of a prospective employee? Or is that “racist?”

  • So here we have indisputable evidence of an extremely slipshod investigation; who at the EEOC will be fired for this? Oh, sorry, I forgot, federal employees don’t get fired for gross incompetence.

  • Although I voted for Mr. Obama in 2008 and 2012, I am dismayed by his childish world view where people act against their own interests to discriminate against various groups. He wants the hateful discrimination and BP to be held accountable with any realizations that his beliefs are hateful in themselves. His disgusting philosophy has penetrated deeply into the bureaucracies.