J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., has agreed to settle a discrimination case involving a man denied work as a driver because of his criminal record, after a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the EEOC announced. 

This settlement follows conciliation between the EEOC and J.B. Hunt over claims that an African-American job candidate was denied a truck driver position at a J.B. Hunt facility in San Bernardino, CA, in 2009 based on a criminal conviction record, which the EEOC contends was unrelated to the duties of the job.

The EEOC said it also reviewed the company’s broader policy with respect to the hiring of job applicants with conviction records.  Blanket prohibitions are not in accordance with the agency’s policy guidance on the subject, which was reissued on April 25, 2010.

The EEOC’s guidance recommends evaluating: the nature and gravity of the offense or conduct; the time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence; and the nature of the job sought prior to disqualifying a candidate with such a record. 

As part of the five-year conciliation agreement, J.B. Hunt agreed to review, revise if necessary, and provide additional training concerning its hiring and selection policies and practices to comply with the EEOC’s guidance. The EEOC will monitor compliance with the conciliation agreement. The alleged victim also entered into a private settlement agreement with J.B. Hunt.

“We commend J.B. Hunt for correcting its policy on criminal convictions and for taking measures toward ensuring equal employment opportunities for all workers,” said Olophius Perry, district director of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office.  “Employers should follow J.B. Hunt’s lead in reviewing and revising existing arrest and conviction policies so that they comply with federal guidelines.”

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).