It’s always satisfying to see race-baiting bureaucrats get their comeuppance in court, but an opinion by the 6th Circuit issued earlier this month begins especially delightfully:
In this case the EEOC sued the defendants for using the same type of background check that the EEOC itself uses. The EEOC’s personnel handbook recites that “[o]verdue just debts increase temptation to commit illegal or unethical acts as a means of gaining funds to meet financial obligations.” Because of that concern, the EEOC runs credit checks on applicants for 84 of the agency’s 97 positions. The defendants (collectively, “Kaplan”) have the same concern; and thus Kaplan runs credit checks on applicants for positions that provide access to students’ financial-loan information, among other positions. For that practice, the EEOC sued Kaplan.
The April 9 ruling in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Kaplan Higher Education Corp. has received little fanfare. It should probably receive more, though, if only because the EEOC lost so good and hard.
In the case, the unanimous three-judge panel ruled to exclude the findings of government contractor General Information Services and the testimony of a dubious statistical analyst, thus affirming a lower court’s “meticulously reasoned” summary judgment decision and likely ending the EEOC’s complaint against Kaplan.
The troubles for Kaplan began when the company experienced problems involving financial improprieties among its employees. The test-prep and for-profit education giant responded by hiring third-party vendors to perform credit checks on current employees and job applicants who would be involved in financial matters.
Kaplan collected no race (or gender) data about job applicants at the time of the credit checks. The company only sought such information at the hiring stage. Nevertheless, the EEOC saw a convoluted conspiracy to identify people by race — by using the very credit checks the EEOC uses.
In its subsequent lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that Kaplan’s “use of credit checks causes it to screen out more African-American applicants than white applicants, creating a disparate impact in violation of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act.”
The case quickly became absurd and hilarious when the super sleuths at the EEOC set out to prove racial disparities in Kaplan’s credit checks by matching up the subpoenaed names of Kaplan job applicants with photos from various Department of Motor Vehicles databases.
The glaring problem with the name-matching scheme, of course, is that there can be no guarantee that someone who applied to work for Kaplan is the person with the same name who also got a license down at the DMV.
The 6th Circuit panel highlighted as much. “The EEOC brought this case on the basis of a homemade methodology, crafted by a witness with no particular expertise to craft it, accepted only by the witness himself,” the unanimous opinion observes.
Horace Cooper, an adjunct fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research and co-chairman of Project 21, a leading voice of black free-market conservatives, spoke to The Daily Caller about the 6th Circuit smack-down.
“Kaplan said they didn’t even know the race or gender of the applications they were rejecting,” Cooper pointed out.
“The unanimous ruling by the 6th Circuit demonstrates just how untenable the EEOC’s position was,” he told TheDC. “Telling employers who haven’t asked or in any way inquired about the racial status of applicants that they cannot adopt simple, widely-used preventative measures to ensure that potential employees won’t engage in wrongdoing is unfair. Using government contractors to scour applications and get third parties to provide photos to guess the applicants’ race to show how it might constitute racially-biased disparate impact is just plain bizarre.”
Cherylyn Harley LeBon, the other Project 21 co-chair, noted the irony of the EEOC’s actions.
“It defies logic that a federal agency would seek to punish a private company for instituting a widely-accepted business practice — especially since this agency engages in the same practice,” she said. “This is an example of the lengths to which this presidency will go to advance their divisive agenda.”
The EEOC has 90 days since the decision to appeal to the Supreme Court.