On July 29th, U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood ruled that Dollar General must give the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hiring records from 2004-2008, and explain to the EEOC the “purported business necessity” for performing criminal background checks on job applicants. Dollar General had challenged the EEOC’s requests, arguing that the post-2008 data it had provided to the EEOC was enough, and that any information about the potential business necessity of background checks was an affirmative defense that it should not be forced to disclose. Judge Wood also declined to shift the cost of Dollar General’s production to the EEOC stating, “the general presumption in discovery is that responding parties must bear the expense of complying with discovery requests.” Dollar General claimed that production of pre-2008 information would require it to expend approximately 160 man-hours and $16,000.
The ruling comes as part of ongoing EEOC litigation against Dollar General which started in June 2013. The initial Complaint alleges that Dollar General’s criminal background checks have led to a disparate impact on African-American job applicants during the time period from 2004 to present (previously reported).
EEOC v. Dolgencorp, LLC d/b/a Dollar General, No. 2013-cv-04307 (N.D. Ill. July 29, 2014).