In November 2013, as noted in the Dallas Business Journal,
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott [R] filed suit on Monday against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying its hiring guidelines limit employers from excluding convicted felons from employment. Those employers include the State of Texas…
The article adds that
‘If state agencies choose to comply with the EEOC’s interpretation, they not only violate state law, but also must … begin evaluating and hiring felons to serve in law enforcement, teach in local elementary schools, nurse veterans and the disabled, counsel juvenile detainees, and coach little league,’ Abbott’s lawsuit claims.
Abbott said the Obama Administration overreached its legal authority by ‘trying to impose hiring rules on states that violate state sovereignty and – in this instance – endanger public safety.’
He said that, “Texas has an obligation to enforce its absolute ban on hiring convicted felons for certain jobs such as state troopers, school teachers and jailers.
According to a release from Abbott’s office, the lawsuit is seeking:
- a declaratory judgment that the state and its agencies are entitled to maintain and enforce state laws and policies that absolutely bar convicted felons – or a certain category of convicted felons – from government employment;
- a declaration that the commission cannot enforce its guidelines against the State of Texas – and an injunction that bars the EEOC from issuing right-to-sue letters to persons seeking to pursue this type of discrimination charge against the State of Texas or any of its agencies; and
- a judgment holding unlawful and setting aside the EEOC’s hiring guidelines.
The case is Texas v. EEOC and has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division, No. 5:13-cv-00255-C.
Eric J. Ellman is Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) in Washington, DC. He also served for eight months as Interim President and CEO of the Association. More