Houser v. Pritzker
We were co-counsel in this class action lawsuit alleging that the criminal background check policies and practices at the U.S. Census Bureau denied African American and Latino job applicants access to more than a million temporary jobs for the 2010 decennial census. As a precondition of employment, Census required all job applicants to produce within 30 days the “official” court disposition for any arrest record—regardless of whether a conviction resulted, the nature of the arrest, its relationship to the job, or its temporal scope. Because this employment practice had significant adverse impact against minority applicants, and was neither job related nor a business necessity, its use was unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
After six years of litigation, the case was settled pursuant to an agreement that, among other things, requires Census to replace its racially discriminatory use of criminal records with a rational job-related method to determine whether an applicant has a criminal history that justifies his or her rejection from these jobs.