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Greg Abbott Challenges Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guidelines Regarding Felons

Allen Corbin,

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is challenging specific guidelines laid out by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

On Monday, Abbott filed a legal action challenging hiring guidelines issued by the EEOC from categorically excluding convicted felons from employment.

According to a press release from Abbott’s office, under Texas law, certain state agencies are prohibited from employing convicted felons and have enacted policies that require criminal background checks.

The hiring guidelines adopted by the EEOC in 2012 prohibit Texas and its agencies from those types of exclusions.

The state’s legal action says “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.”

“Once again, the Obama Administration is overreaching its legal authority by trying to impose hiring rules on states that violate state sovereignty and – in this instance – endanger public safety,” said Abbott. “Texas has an obligation to enforce its absolute ban on hiring convicted felons for certain jobs such as state troopers, school teachers, and jailers.”

The lawsuit, filed in the Lubbock Division of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, requests that the court approve a judgment that the State of Texas and associated agencies are able to maintain and enforce state law barring certain categories of convicted felons from government employment, and that the EEOC cannot enforce its guidelines against the State of Texas.

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