On August 9, U.S. District Judge Roger Titus in Maryland dismissed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit against Freeman Cos., which the agency claimed was discriminating against minority and male job applicants.
The EEOC said in a September 2009 compliant that the event-services company used discriminatory hiring criteria against minorities by looking at the credit history of some of its job applicants and by considering candidates' criminal history. The agency alleged that Freeman's hiring policies led to disparate impact on proposed class members.
Titus wrote in his opinion that while some specific uses of criminal and credit background checks could be discriminatory, the EEOC gave unreliable expert testimony to demonstrate disparate impact stemming from Freeman's practices.
CorpCounsel.com this week discussed the case with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld partner Donald Livingston, who was Freeman's lead attorney. The Washington, D.C.-based lawyer is a former EEOC general counsel. The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.