Discrimination Suit Hits Store Chain After Biden’s High-Profile Visit

Source: Shutterstock / Sheetz

You’ve likely seen the Sheetz signs dotting highways across six states in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. With 700-plus convenience stores and gas stations stretching from West Virginia to North Carolina, Sheetz has cultivated a loyal following for its made-to-order sandwiches, snacks, and coffee.

But now the family-owned chain finds itself in hot water over claims it discriminated against minority job applicants. In a lawsuit filed this week, federal officials allege Sheetz automatically rejected candidates who failed certain background checks, disproportionately impacting Black, Native American, and multiracial applicants.

Sheetz Convenience Store Chain Hit With Discrimination Lawsuit

Since at least 2015, according to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Sheetz has relied on criminal background checks that disproportionately impact minority applicants, weeding many out before they ever get a fair chance at a job interview.

Source: Sheetz

They argue that Sheetz’s hiring practices violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by causing a “disparate impact” based on race. Even if the policy seems neutral, if it results in a disproportionate exclusion of minorities, it can still be illegal.

Flawed Screening Process

Officials contend that Sheetz’s practice of automatically rejecting applicants with certain criminal records has prevented many qualified minority candidates from being considered for jobs where they could excel.

Source: Medium

While background checks are common and legal, the EEOC says Sheetz applied them overly broadly without properly considering each applicant’s circumstances.

Denial of Claims Even With Looming Lawsuits

While Sheetz denies the allegations, the company will likely face consequences if proven true. The EEOC is pursuing legal action to force Sheetz to offer jobs and back pay to affected applicants.


Some critics argue that “ban-the-box” laws prohibiting questions about criminal history on job applications can help address systemic discrimination.

Complexities of Balancing Anit-Discrimination and Employer Discretion

The situation highlights the complex challenges of balancing anti-discrimination laws and employer discretion in hiring. Companies must ensure their policies and procedures do not unfairly disadvantage certain groups.

Source: Adobe Stock

At the same time, they aim to hire the best candidates for the job. Many factors must be considered regarding when and how to evaluate someone’s criminal record or other background details during recruitment.

Lawsuits Just After President Biden’s Visit

For Sheetz, the lawsuit comes at an ironic time, given President Biden’s recent visit to one of their stores. The high-profile attention may motivate the company to reexamine and address its hiring practices to build a more diverse, inclusive workforce.

Source: X/Newsweek

Doing so would help Sheetz avoid future discrimination claims and better serve their customers and communities.

Companies Need To Regularly Their Hiring Methods

The allegations against Sheetz should remind all companies of the importance of routinely evaluating their hiring methods and making necessary adjustments to prevent discrimination.

Source: StaffingSoft

Promoting fair and just employment opportunities is essential for cultivating a more equitable society where people are judged based on their qualifications rather than their race, gender, religion, or other personal attributes.

Lawsuit Claims Hiring Practices Have Disproportionate Impact on Minorities

The lawsuit accuses Sheetz of discriminating against minority job applicants through the way it handles background checks.

Source: OHCHR

According to the EEOC, Sheetz’s long standing hiring practices have disproportionately impacted Black, Native American, and multiracial applicants, violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Weeding Out Applicants

The EEOC alleges that Sheetz automatically disqualified job seekers after background checks flagged their criminal histories.

Source: Pexels/Pavel Danilyuk

While Sheetz said it “does not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” the agency claims this practice amounted to unlawful discrimination.

Disparate Impact

Federal law prohibits employment practices that disproportionately impact protected groups unless the employer can prove they are necessary and job-related.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Even then, a less discriminatory alternative must be used if available. It’s unclear how many applicants were affected, but the EEOC says Sheetz’s practices date back to at least 2015.

Calls for Action

The EEOC demands that Sheetz offer jobs and back pay to improperly rejected applicants and change its hiring process to prevent future discrimination.

Source: Adobestock/adragan

Sheetz said it takes the allegations seriously but has not yet indicated if it will settle. The case highlights the need for employers to evaluate how their policies might disadvantage some groups, even without intent.

Company Operations Across 6 States Potentially Affected

Sheetz operates hundreds of convenience stores in six states in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. The privately held company was founded in 1952 and is still family-owned and operated.

Source: Sheetz

Sheetz employs over 23,000 individuals to staff its many locations, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Repercussions Across Operations

If the EEOC’s lawsuit is successful, Sheetz could face significant consequences. The agency aims to force Sheetz to provide job offers, back pay, and other benefits to applicants unlawfully denied employment due to discriminatory hiring practices.

Source: CStore Decisions

Beyond monetary damages, Sheetz may have to revise their hiring methods to come into compliance with federal law.

Ending Discriminatory Hiring Practices

The EEOC wants Sheetz to change its hiring process to end the discriminatory impact. It seeks job offers and back pay for applicants wrongly denied employment due to background checks. Retroactive seniority and other benefits may also be awarded.

Source: Reason Magazine

While the EEOC does not claim Sheetz acted with racial animus, their practices still violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits workplace discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or national origin.

How Is Discrimination In Hiring Regulated

Many people have questions about what constitutes discrimination in hiring and how it is regulated. The EEOC enforces laws against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information.

Source: Adobe Stock

Discrimination can take many forms, including policies, practices, or procedures that seem neutral but disproportionately impact protected groups.

What do you think?

187 Points
Upvote Downvote
Sally Reed

Written by Sally Reed

Sally, a dynamic and viral writer, has taken the literary world by storm with her exceptional storytelling prowess. With an uncanny ability to tap into the collective consciousness of her readers, she crafts narratives that resonate deeply and linger long after the last word is read.

Born with a creative spirit, Sally honed her writing skills from a young age, cultivating a unique voice that blends emotion, wit, and social insight. Her work spans a wide spectrum, from poignant short stories that tug at the heartstrings to thought-provoking essays that challenge conventional thinking.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Judge Orders Removal of Wind Farm Siding with Osage Nation in Dispute

AI-Generated Racist Recording Leads to Arrest of High School Athletic Director