PepsiCo is the multinational company behind Pepsi Cola and other sodas like Mountain Dew and Sierra Mist. It also owns an array of other food, snack, and beverage brands, including Gatorade, Frito-Lay (known for Lay’s Potato Chips, Doritos, and Cheetos), Lipton (tea), Tropicana, and Aquafina bottled water. Collectively, these brands and others bring PepsiCo tens of billions of dollars in revenue every year. In 2018, PepsiCo landed at 45 on the Fortune 500.
If you are seeking a job with PepsiCo or any of its associated brands, you might wonder what the PepsiCo background check looks like. Does PepsiCo run background checks? If so, how strict is the company in handling candidates whose records might not be 100-percent clean?
PepsiCo and its brands do conduct background checks of prospective hires. The second question is a bit more complicated to answer.
In the past, PepsiCo has landed in some trouble for being too “one size fits all” with its background check process. The company had a policy that would automatically disqualify candidates over minor criminal offenses or arrests that were still pending. The policy was problematic for several reasons.
For one thing, PepsiCo was not considering criminal records on a case-by-case basis as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission encourages employers to do. As a result, many candidates were disqualified due to convictions or charges that were not necessarily relevant to the job being filled. For another thing, many states bar employers from using arrest records to disqualify a candidate from job consideration.
These issues and others came to a head in an EEOC lawsuit. The EEOC launched an investigation and reported that PepsiCo’s hiring policies had had a “disparate impact” on minorities, resulting in the exclusion of at least 300 black applicants. PepsiCo paid over $3 million to settle the claim and agreed to change its background check policy. PepsiCo agreed to offer employment to any candidates disqualified by the former policy if those candidates were “qualified to work.”
Because of this lawsuit and its aftermath, PepsiCo background checks today are more friendly to candidates who have been arrested or convicted of a crime. PepsiCo is now known as an employer that is willing to hire felons.
The company operates based on EEOC criteria, which means it assesses each candidate on a case-by-case basis. Factors like the nature of the offense, the amount of time since the offense, and the job role will all impact the outcome of a PepsiCo background check.