Labor & Employment

'Race rater' evidence blocked in EEOC bias suit over Kaplan credit checks; case gets tossed


Kaplan Higher Education Corp. has won dismissal of a lawsuit that alleged its hiring credit checks discriminated against black job applicants.

U.S. District Judge Patricia Gaughan of Cleveland granted summary judgment for the company on Monday after blocking an EEOC expert witness, the New York Times reports.

The expert had used a group of “race raters” to look at driver’s license photos of 891 job applicants and determine which ones were black. The EEOC did not offer sufficient proof that the race raters were reliable, Gaughan said. Without the evidence, the agency has failed to make out a case of disparate impact discrimination, Gaughan concluded.

The opinion points out that the EEOC also does credit checks of job applicants. However the EEOC says it has never “unfavorably adjudicated employees based on their debt issues.”

Kaplan provided this statement to the ABA Journal: “Kaplan maintained from the beginning that the EEOC lawsuit was without merit. Our practices mirrored what is standard practice for many private companies and some government agencies. We’re pleased at the court’s decision to dismiss the case at the summary judgment stage. Kaplan continues to be committed to providing a workplace free from discrimination and harassment.”

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “EEOC Suit Claims Credit Checks in Kaplan Hiring Were Discriminatory”

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