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Challenge Yourself!

Connor, who is White, and Jalen, who is Black, recently graduated from high school. Jalen worked full-time at an electronics store during the prior summer. Connor worked part-time at a coffee shop and as a basketball camp assistant coach. Both interview for a research job with local TV station KEFG. During his interview, Connor says that he pled guilty to a felony when he was 16 for accessing his school's computer system over a three month period without authorization and changing his classmates' grades. In his interview, Jalen discusses his prior work experience and positive references, but also says that when he was 16, he pled guilty to breaking and entering his high school as part of a class prank that caused minimal damage to school property. KEFG hires Connor and sends Jalen a rejection letter. Did KEFG discriminate against Jalen?

  1. A is incorrect.
    While KEFG can consider a number of things when deciding who to hire, it is illegal for KEFG to consider an applicant's race or another characteristic protected by law (such as gender or national origin).

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  2. B is incorrect.
    The fact that Jalen received an interview does not matter. If KEFG decided not to hire Jalen based on his race (which it may have learned during the interview), KEFG discriminated against Jalen.

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  3. C is correct.
    It is illegal for an employer to treat applicants with criminal records differently based on race. If KEFG decided not to hire Jalen because he is Black, KEFG discriminated against Jalen. For example, if the KEFG hiring manager said "KEFG has an image to protect, and hiring a Black kid with a criminal record won't help our brand." after interviewing Jalen, that may be evidence that KEFG illegally considered Jalen's race when it decided not to hire him.

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  4. D is incorrect.
    It is not illegal under the laws enforced by EEOC for an employer to make an employment decision, such as a decision about who to hire, based on an applicant's criminal record. But it is illegal for an employer to treat applicants with criminal records differently based on race or national origin. It is also illegal for an employer to have a criminal records policy (for example, a policy that it won't ever hire people with criminal records) that disproportionately (more often) excludes people of a particular race or national origin and does not accurately predict who will be a responsible, reliable, or safe employee.

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