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Via The Publica Team,

Sheetz Convenience Stores Accused Of Discriminating Against Minority Job Seekers By Refusing To Consider Applicants With Criminal Record

A popular US convenience store chain has been hit with a civil rights lawsuit accusing it of discriminating against minority job seekers because it requires applicants to have no criminal record.

On April 18, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it had filed a lawsuit against Sheetz Inc., accusing the 24/7 convenience store chain of having discriminatory hiring practices that targeted minority applicants.

According to the lawsuit, Sheetz has maintained a longstanding practice of screening all job applicants for records of criminal conviction and then denying them employment based on those records.

As a result, the EEOC is accusing Sheetz of “disproportionately screening out Black, Native American/Alaska Native and multiracial applicants.”

This is despite the fact that the lawsuit does not allege that Sheetz’s hiring practices were motivated by race.

According to the EEOC press release, Sheetz’s hiring practices violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion and national origin. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“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 EEOC began its probe into Sheetz after two job applicants filed civil rights complaints alleging employment discrimination.

The agency then found that Black job applicants were deemed to have failed the company’s criminal history screening and were denied employment at a rate of 14.5%, while multiracial job seekers were turned away 13.5% of the time and Native Americans were denied at a rate of 13%.

By contrast, fewer than 8% of white applicants were refused employment because of a failed criminal background check, the EEOC’s lawsuit states.

Sheetz is a chain of gas stations and convenience stores primarily located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, particularly in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.

The franchise is most well-known for its customizable food options similar to WaWa, with a number of made-to-order dishes, frozen desserts, and milkshakes available.

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