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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sues Sheetz over alleged discriminatory hiring practices

Sheetz sued over hiring practices
Sheetz sued over hiring practices 00:32

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - On Thursday, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced a lawsuit against Sheetz, alleging the convenience store and gas chain of denying employment to a class of job application due to their race. 

The U.S. EEOC alleges that Sheetz has a practice of screening all applicants for records of criminal conviction and then denying them employment based on said record. The EEOC's charge claims that Sheetz disproportionally screened out applicants who are black, Native American and multiracial. 

The lawsuit does not allege that Sheetz was motivated by race when making hiring decisions.

"Federal law mandates that employment practices causing a disparate impact because of race or other protected classifications must be shown by the employer to be necessary to ensure the safe and efficient performance of the particular jobs at issue," said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. "Even when such necessity is proven, the practice remains unlawful if there is an alternative practice available that is comparably effective in achieving the employer's goals but causes less discriminatory effect."

The alleged conduct, according to the EEOC, violates Title VII which prohibits facially neutral employment practices that "cause a discriminatory impact because of race when those practices are not job-related and consistent with business necessity or where alternative practices with less discriminatory impact are available." 

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland following an attempt to reach a pre-litigation settlement. 

Sheetz public relations manager Nick Ruffner released a statement, saying:

"Sheetz does not tolerate discrimination of any kind. Diversity and inclusion are essential parts of who we are.

"We take these allegations seriously.  We have attempted to work with the EEOC for nearly eight years to find common ground and resolve this dispute.  We will address the claims in Court when the time comes."   

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