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Press Release 09-24-2018

Furniture Retailer Rooms to Go Adopts Revised Criminal Background Check Procedures In Cooperation With The EEOC

Tampa, Fla. -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Rooms To Go, a larger furniture retailer, have reached a voluntary conciliation agreement to resolve allegations of race discrimination raised by an unsuccessful black applicant whose offer of employment was rescinded as a result of Rooms To Go's background check policies, the federal agency announced today. The agreement reflects the company's implementation of revised policies and practices to ensure that its pre-employment screenings comply with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (Title VII).

The cooperative agreement acknowledges Rooms To Go's proactive changes to its hiring and screening policies. Rooms To Go's revised policies and practices remove any blanket exclusions for criminal conviction from its screening policies, affording all applicants an opportunity for an individualized assessment. The agreement also reformed Rooms To Go's employment application by removing criminal conviction questions and postponing inquiries about criminal history until later in the hiring process. These changes will ensure that applicants will be judged by their qualifications first, rather than screened based on criminal history questions on the application. Delaying any consideration of criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment gives applicants a fair chance at employment and an opportunity to explain their criminal history.

In addition, Rooms To Go will provide training on its revised criminal background procedures to the appropriate personnel. All human resource staff, along with other essential employees, will be required to take mandatory implicit bias training and annual refresher training. "We obtained financial relief for the victim of discrimination and eradicated a barrier for future applicants," said EEOC Tampa Field Office Director Evangeline Hawthorne. "We are pleased that Rooms To Go chose to work with the EEOC to reach this conciliation agreement and that through our joint efforts we have been able to bring about real change at Rooms To Go."

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.