Pepsi Bottling Group has agreed to pay $3.13 million and provide job offers and training to resolve charges of hiring discrimination brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC's investigation revealed that more than 300 African American applicants were disproportionately denied employment because of Pepsi's criminal background check policy. Under the policy, job applicants who had been arrested pending prosecution were not hired for a permanent job even if they had never been convicted of any offense.

The policy also denied employment to applicants who had been arrested or convicted of certain minor offenses.

The Commission has long-standing guidance and policy statements on the use of arrest and conviction records in employment. When employers contemplate instituting a background check policy, the agency recommends that they take into consideration the nature and gravity of the offense, the time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence, and the nature of the job sought in order to be sure that the exclusion is important for the particular position.

During the course of the investigation, Pepsi adopted a new criminal background check policy. The monetary settlement will primarily be divided among black applicants for positions at Pepsi, with a portion of the sum being allocated for the administration of the claims process. Pepsi will also conduct training for its hiring personnel and all of its managers.

Visit the EEOC website for more information.