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Judge refuses to nix lawsuit against BMW regarding discrimination at South Carolina facility

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SPARTANBURG, South Carolina — A federal judge on Tuesday declined to dismiss a lawsuit accusing BMW Manufacturing Co. of discriminating against black job candidates with a job screening policy at its Greer manufacturing facility.

U.S. District Judge Henry M. Herlong Jr. denied BMW's motion for summary judgment in the suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Greenville News reported (http://grnol.co/1Kfuge4 ).

In 2013, the commission accused of BMW of violating former employees' civil rights by using criminal background checks with a disproportionate effect on black employees and applicants.

Arguing that BMW's policy affected dozens of employees working for a contractor that staffed a BMW warehouse, the agency said the screenings discriminate against black candidates, who have higher arrest and conviction rates than whites.

The contractor's policy was not to employ anyone with a criminal record within the past seven years. When a new contractor took over the company, BMW ordered a new round of criminal background checks and fired anyone with a criminal record from any year.

In its response, BMW denied the assertion that its policy doesn't distinguish between felony and misdemeanor convictions.

In his ruling Tuesday, Herlong also denied motions to exclude testimony from the commission's expert on disparate impact and BMW's expert on business necessity.

A trial date hasn't been set.


Information from: The Greenville News, http://www.greenvillenews.com

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