Employers could be pressured to hire more workers with a criminal background under recent guidelines issued by the federal government.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidelines warn businesses about rejecting minority applicants who have committed a crime and recommend they eliminate policies that “exclude people from employment based on a criminal record.”

The EEOC says civil rights laws already prohibit different treatment for job applicants who are of a different ethnic background but have identical criminal histories. The update was issued out of concern that employers might disproportionally exclude minorities from getting hired because more African Americans and Hispanics are getting arrested and going to prison, according to the guideline report.

But businesses and even one EEOC commissioner strongly objected to the changes, saying they are confusing and go beyond the commission’s authority.

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