DOJ Says No To ‘Blanket Ban’ Criminal Background Policies

Friday, March 10, 2017

Checks that don’t consider risk factors have ‘unjustified disparate impact’—and violate FHA

Late last year, the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) weighed in on potentially discriminatory housing practices relating to criminal background checks, and the definitive verdict is that you should avoid overly broad screening practices.

The DOJ filed a “statement of interest” with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, which is presiding over the case of The Fortune Society Inc. v. Sandcastle Towers Housing Development Fund Corp. The DOJ and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) share enforcement authority under the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

Don’t Use This Type of Criminal Background Policy

Background: In October 2014, the Fortune Society Inc., a non-profit organization that assists formerly incarcerated individuals with finding housing, sued Sandcastle Towers Housing Development Fund Corp.,...


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