A BMW manufacturing facility in South Carolina, and the largest small-box discount retailer in the United States violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by implementing and utilizing a criminal background policy that resulted in employees being fired and others being screened out for employment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged in two lawsuits filed this week.
In 2008, UTi ended its contract with BMW. During a transitional period, UTi employees were informed of the need to re-apply with the new contractor to retain their positions in the BMW warehouse. As part of the application process, BMW directed the new contractor to perform new criminal background checks on every current UTi employee applying for transition of employment. The new contractor subsequently discovered that several UTi employees had criminal convictions in violation of BMW's criminal conviction policy. As a result, those employees were told that they no longer met the criteria for working at the BMW facility and were subsequently terminated and denied rehire as employees of the new contractor, despite the fact that many of the employees had worked at the BMW facility for years.