Attorney General Ken Paxton today praised the U.S. District Court for siding with Texas in a lawsuit challenging unlawful hiring guidelines issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that limit the ability of employers – including the state of Texas and its agencies – from categorically excluding convicted felons from certain employment positions.
“The Obama Administration overreached its legal authority by imposing EEOC hiring directives that preempt state law and ignore the very real risks to public safety,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Texas has the sovereign right to impose categorical bans on the hiring of criminals for such jobs as state troopers, school teachers and jailers, and the EEOC has no authority to say otherwise. Requiring Texas to issue badges and guns to felons is bad policy and unlawful.”
Under Texas law, certain state agencies are prohibited from employing convicted felons and have enacted policies that require criminal background checks to ensure convicted felons do not hold positions of public trust. The felon hiring guidelines the EEOC adopted in 2012 prohibit the state and its agencies from categorically excluding convicted felons for certain jobs. In addition, the guidelines warn that the commission will investigate and prosecute employers like Texas who use felony convictions to disqualify employment, and, further, they encourage disqualified applicants to file discrimination claims for perceived violations of the guidelines.