Human Resources News & Insights

Recruiting: EEOC warns about background checks

When the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission started noticing an increase in discrimination suits based on background checks, the agency decided to warn employers about practices that could get them in trouble.

The EEOC program designed to combat discriminatory practices tied to background checks is called E-RACE (Eradicating Racism And Colorism from Employment). It started when the agency noted, in the last few years, a steep climb in complaints from applicants who said they were unfairly excluded from competing for a job because of information that showed up on a background check.

What sort of information? On the face of it, nothing extraordinary — a criminal record or a poor credit rating. The problem came when applicants were able to show that the criteria used had a negative impact on hiring opportunities for black and Hispanic males, who statistically have higher arrest rates and lower credit scores than white males.

Here are two background-check practices that have caused the biggest headaches — with the EEOC and in court — for employers:

  • Blanket policies against hiring anyone with a criminal record or poor credit score. The sticking point for such policies is that, without knowing it, an employer could routinely give preference to whites. What to do: Check to see if your practices exclude most blacks and Hispanics, whole opening the door to white applicants. If you see a pattern, the EEOC may see one, too.
  • Failing to show the correlation between background checks and the job itself. The EEOC and the courts generally recognize that some background material may have some bearing on the applicant’s suitability for the job. In the most obvious instance, for example, you wouldn’t be expected to hire a convicted embezzler to handle cash. There are other situations that apply — contact with customers, driving company vehicles, dealing with minors, etc. You’re on safer ground if you can show those correlations between background checks and suitability.

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  • http://www.ESRcheck.com Les Rosen

    Excellent article that ever employer should be aware of. In fact, the EEOC has recently filed a lawsuit against a national employer alleging that credit reports and criminal records were used in a discriminatory fashion. http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/1057/new-eeoc-lawsuit-for-discrimination-based-on-credit-report-and-criminal-records The one thing that small and medium businesses do not want to do is to use screening software that makes automated decision. That is a big risk taken for no good reason.

  • http://www.refcheck.com Zuni Corkerton

    Many ermployers, seeking to establish consistency and non-discriminatory practices in their employment practices often develop blanket policies without taking into acount the disparate impact such policies may have. The stakes in the talent-acquisition process are high. When the background-checking decisions are made at the highest levels of the organization, employers significantly reduce their risks. HR executives should ask themselves if they know exactly what background checks their company is conducting.

  • http://www.allianceinvestigative.com Mario Pecoraro

    Employers should continue to examine their hiring practices to ensure that all proper local, state and federal laws are met. In addition, employers should maintain consistent hiring policies and be cautious when making an adverse hiring decision to ensure that all guidelines are met. Often times employers find themselves in compromising situations by failing to properly follow guidelines set forth or to feel that they can make an arbitrary decision to not hire, not realizing that it could be discriminatory.

  • CB

    I’m wll aware of how sometimes seeminly ‘harmless’ practices can unintentially create a disparate impact on certain classes, yet I still go back and forth on this concept. While I certainly dont believe they should be USED to discriminate, if a compnay does a check on every applicant and has a standing policy that they will not hire anyone with a felony conviction (for example) – including a white man with a felony conviction – how is it discrimination on the employer’s part that “statistically” more minorities have felony convictions? Is that just where the buck stops? why isn’t it the responsibility of the police departments to avoid racial profiling, or funding recources to ensure equality in education because people with a higher education “statistically” are less likely to have a criminal records (I don’t know this – just an example). You get the picture. I 100% agree that all classes should have protections (to ensure equality), it just seems that it becomes impossible for employers to have any selection criteria that doesn’t ‘suggest’ some form of discrimination these days. Before you all attack me – that being said, I personally only believe credit and criminal background checks should be used if it ABSOLUTELY is necessary because of the type of job.

  • nomi

    My employee’s are given the keys and alarm codes to my customer’s facilities with after hours access. I have a responsibility to protect my customer’s from theft and violence, so new hires with a history of theft and violence are not retained. My employee’s must also be bondable and insurable to drive my vehicles. This criteria applies to all applicants eligible to work in the United States. Is this discriminatory?

    This reminds me of another article I read that warned that advertising for employees only in the newspaper can be discriminatory because statistically, more whites read the paper. Employee referral hiring can also be considered discriminatory because it causes you to only hire people of the same ethnicity as your current employees.

    Where does this end? It drives me crazy how anything you do can be twisted to be called discrimination.

    Maybe I should just open the front door and hire a sky-writer to announce that I will hire anyone who can make it in the door. You don’t have to do anything other than show me you are eligible to work in the U.S. You have no job duties, no set schedule, and no responsibility. You will receive superior pay, excellent benefits, and you will never lose your job no matter what you do or don’t do.

  • Angie

    I agree with Nomi and CB, We have gone so far the other way that there are no repercusions for anything anymore. Let’s look at another senerio. A company hires an employee that has a record that shows violence, but hires them anyway, becouse the EEOC says it is decriminatory to not hire that person. That individule comes to work under stress and kills some of his/her co-workers. Where does that responsibility fall. (The company) And who do you think has to face the families. (HR) I feel one of my most important jobs is to protect my employees and give them a safe environment to work in. Maybe if you have a criminal record of violence and theft and can no longer find a job, then those who may follow in those footsteps will think twice. Until we stand up as a country and say enough is enough, things will only continue to get worst. How many of you have made a comment in the last week, that you don’t like the direction this country is heading in?

  • Mike R

    The EEOC is simply making companies do their jobs when making an employment selection without unlawfully discriminating.

    I know many HR executives who put the selection process in “automatic” with various “go/ no go” screens. Every executive needs to consider the criminal records (as well as all the information) and put it into perspective and THEN relate it to the job. For instance, a criminal offense 7 years ago followed by positive employment and education (with references) seems to put a candidate into perspective compared to a candidate with no criminal history but no sustained positive employment/ education over the last seven years.

    Certainly the offense matters, as well, but must be taken into consideration with how they have performed after the offense. For instance, if a person was convicted of aggravated assault seven years ago and there is no evidence of problems (criminally, civilly, or employment wise) since, then perhaps they have obtained the help and treatment needed and are better off than the general population in coping with stressful situations. If the offense was “writing bad checks” seven years ago, with no other problems since then, then I think you could probably trust them at your cash register more than the person who has no conviction, but has a spotty employment history and references that cannot speak to the person’s integrity or character.

  • nomi

    I don’t think it’s discrimination when you hold every person to the same standard regardless of their race, religion, gender, etc. I have a policy, this policy applies to all employees. The EEOC says because blacks and hispanics statistically have poor records, you have to treat them differently than white people. You have to make more allowances for them or hold them to a lower standard. What is equal about that? It sounds like equal but different which I do NOT believe in.

    Mike, we have set parameters on what will be acceptable on your background and what will not. We do not have a blanket policy that throws out any applicant with a parking ticket. We have set cut-offs for various types of offenses, based on the severity of the charge and the age of the offense.

  • http://www.hrmorning.com/recruiting-eeoc-warns-about-background-checks/ Lrjack

    I believe the question about a criminal record should NOT be ask on the employment application, but after a job offer has been presented to the individual. Not asking about the criminal record at the initial stage of the employment process, is allowing people with criminal records a viable chance for employment. These people should be offered the same opportunity to be lawfully employed as anybody else, so that they can take care of themselves and their family. They need to reintegrate into society, after they paid their debt for the crime they committed, otherwise why let them out to do nothing or possibly commit more crimes. It’s too often that you hear an ignorant comment, “Well, they shouldn’t have committed the crime in the first place”. My response to that would be; what does the two have to do with each other? Is society trying to impose their on justice after the courts already imposed their penalty on the individual? There are already laws in place to protect society from people that are considered a high risk to the most vulnerable. For instance, while it may be appropriate to prohibit anyone convicted of a child sex offense from working in day care, it would be unreasonable to say that anyone who has ever been convicted of any offense should be prohibited from working with children. The EEOC has offered guidance for employers in hiring people with criminal convictions, which is not to exclude people with a conviction, unless there is a “business justification”. The employer must show that it considered these three factors to determine whether its decision was justified by business necessity: The nature and gravity of the offense or offenses; the time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence; and the nature of the job held or sought. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has concluded that because African American and Latino workers are arrested and convicted more often than whites, hiring policies that exclude workers with a criminal record may discriminate in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

  • Pingback: E-RACE and You : Keeping the World Safe

  • aubra

    Wow. I’m walking proof that background checks can be considered discrimination. 12 years ago I got in trouble with the law for drugs that my now ex husband had drugs on him. So I got a felony. Since then I got my GED my voting rights and my civil rights restored so I can run for “public office”. But I had never been in trouble with the law and never have since then. So I go to apply for a job and they deny me because I have a felony for someones elses problem that I was not aware of so how fair is that???????????

  • nomi

    aubra, If something comes back on a background check and an employee tells me it is not true, they are given the opportunity to have the record corrected. I take my responsibilities to my customers seriously but I am not an ogre.

    The info that comes back on a background is only as good as it can be with humans involved. Mistakes will be made. Sometimes felonies don’t show up when they should. We can only do our best with what is available to us.

  • Joe

    I wanted to respond to a statement of “Maybe if you have a criminal record of violence and theft and can no longer find a job, then those who may follow in those footsteps will think twice. Until we stand up as a country and say enough is enough, things will only continue to get worst. How many of you have made a comment in the last week, that you don’t like the direction this country is heading in?”

    First off, 70% of all crimes are non-violent, theft and drug related. But employers refuse to hire them. So if employers refuse to hire, where should these individuals who are living in your communities get their money to eat sleep and live? Thankfully your tax dollars are provding them this social need. So please continue to deny felons jobs and make more revenue through your company so Uncle Sam can pay the felons who aren’t allowed to work. Wouldn’t you rather have the felon working and paying their own share of taxes back to the system that invested into their rehabilitation? As a business person, where is your return for your investment of your tax dollars?

  • http://H/RMorning Joseph

    I would agree that the conviction question should not be asked on the application. These days most applications are done on line. This simply allows the H/R Department to delete without a trace, those who answer the question honestly. As in the state of Hawaii, the question can asked at the interview, thus giving the applicant the opportunity to explain. I do not believe that there is any more workplace crime in Hawaii than the other 49 states.

    I do not believe that the EEOC is going to much more than what they have done to date, not much. If the issue is truly about giving people a second chance in life rather than politics, they will put controls in place to ensure that companies are in compliance. Such as amount of people with convictions interviewed Vs number hired. Documentation as to the why canidate was not hired. etc. I do not believe that the EEOC will go this far, after all they have been talking about this for years. Until it is displayed on their required workplace posters will it be in effect. Even if they did, companies would just simly outsource their application process to a third party, who would be immune to such regulations. Case in point, in California, companies can only go back 7 years in a background check, if they do it themselves. If the company outsources their background checks to a third party, this rule does not apply. Why does this loopole exist?

    We as a society jail more people per capita than any oother country. We have over 50% of the worlds attorneys, and the worlds largest goverment ran, criminal justice system. Food for thought

  • Don

    Let me get this straight. Because blacks and Hispanics “who statistically have higher arrest rates and lower credit scores than white males” per the EEOC statement, might not pass most companies background check requirements, that makes it racist and dicriminatory not to hire them. Amazing; now we’re giving preferentail treatment to convicted felons (as long as they’re also minorities). Will wonder’s never cease. If you’re having a hard time getting a job, maybe you should consider going out and committing a felony to strenghten you resume.

  • Lrjack

    Statements are to be understood and not taken out of context. There is no statement from the EEOC that employers must hire a person with a criminal record or negative credit history. The EEOC has stated that facially neutral employment screening on the basis of arrest and conviction records may “significantly create a disadvantage for applicants and employees on the basis of race. These racial disparities are largely rooted in law enforcement practices and criminal justice system that disproportionately target minorities. The EEOC has also heard from two of the leading researchers looking at the intersection of criminal records and employment, Devah Pager and Shawn Bushway. Their research has been groundbreaking in showing both the severity of the “mark of a criminal record” for applicants seeking employment, and the serious limitations of using a prior conviction as a predictor of future criminal activity. Their research help inform policy decisions in this area with respect to EEOC guidance for employers. I have worked with professionals that have shown and acted out violent tendencies and had no criminal record. Not to mention the hundreds of disgruntled employees and ex-employees, that had NO criminal conviction history, yet kill their fellow co-workers. So, why are employers using these criteria’s as a basis to employment? Maybe, it stems from the multi-million dollar employment screening companies driving fear into organizations to make a huge profit for their services at the expense of the poor.

  • http://montgomeryaviation.net HR Don

    I agree with “Don Says”. I have a simple philosophy. I dont want to work with a convicted felon, albeit a convicted drug dealer, murderer, etc. I dont care if they are a minority or not. It doesnt make a difference to me what they did. What does matter is subjecting our employees to the increased “possibility” of a problem. I understand where the EEOC is going with this along with the courts. I dont think its fair to give more “understanding” to a felon rather than to a law abiding citizen white or black or hispanic etc. After all, the felon didnt care about anybody else when they committed the felony did they?

  • Joe

    @ HR Don-

    I respect your position but truly disagree. What threat is more greater? Having a ex-offender who has no job and no place to live roaming the streets, in your back yard or a ex-offender working as any other working class citizen, paying their taxes and obeying the laws?

    Please provide your rationale and research as why you think ex-offenders in a work place is so threatening? Please provide me some statistics showing that workplace violence is mostly committed by ex-ofenders. I promise you will find a larger magority of work place violence is not committed by ex-offenders because employers do not want to hire them. I further promise you will find your position has been formulated based on stereotyping with no foundational or credible basis. I will also bet that if you gave consideration you would agree that a ex-offender who can not get a job is at a much higher risk of re-offending than one who does have a good job, house and family. Oh thats right, ex-offenders do have family and children, do we wish to sucumb their family and children to poor lifestyles that forces them to live off the tax payers through the way of foodstamps, housing, free medical ? i think not.

    I’d rather see a fair process, that is fair considereation based on their skills and experience.

    Let’s look at the big picture rather than the spec of a criminal record. Yes these individuals committed their crime and there is no taking it back, no do we want to see them stop committing crimes or continuing because we wish to strip them of everything. Last comment, if a ex-offender was truly that bad why are we letting them out of jail/prison? Obviously their crimes aren’t that serious.

  • nomi

    @Joe

    You sounded very reasonable until the last comment. You have got to be kidding when you ask why do we let them out. We let them out because the system is broken. We let people out due to over-crowding. How many times do you hear about violent criminals being let out early who then re-offend? I hear about these cases all the time.

  • Joe

    @ nomi

    I was really meaning that question to be rhetorical… I am not aware of violent offenders being released early from there sentences, of course I don’t live in California either. I do agree the system is broken. However, those individuals who do complete their sentence are released, if they were a continued threat to society then why release them? hence why a number of convictions require life sentences, but i would also argue its not alway about them being a threat but the penalty of their crime determines their sentence – i do agree with this. I only hear of non-violent offenders being released early (or if your name is Linsey Lohan) and in some states they equate to 60 to 80 of entire prison population and also represent the group that re-offends the most because the most serious offenders are not free roaming society looking for jobs/housing.

    We as a society tend to catagorize everyone with one broad brush stroke and we should look at history to remind ourselves that style of thinking isn’t right….

  • dallasT

    i wish they would have told us what or where to go to file a complaint. we have been helping a friend’s younger brother who cannot get a job muchless a seasonal job for the holidays. he had a nonviolent act /no drugs and never arrested (deferred adjudication-felony). and also a bad lawyer that didn’t do a good job since it was more important to defend child molestors with bigger money to pay him. well this young man spent a whole day completing online applications to find out the next week that more than half the jobs do not accept people with any kind of background nor does a lot of these temp agencies. when we checked out the local unemployment job match, etc we saw where those jobs listed ‘ no convictions will be accepted ‘ yet it didn’t state this when he did is online application at his mom’s house ??? Walmart, Steinmart, CVS, Family Dollar, baby r us and Toys r us, Macys, Spherion temp, Office Team temp, Marshalls to name a few should put that in bold red print at the top of all online applications that any kind of Misdeamn. or felony whether its deferred adjudication will not be accepted !!! some of those online applications took him 2 hours to do just ONE !!! it’s time for our elected officials to do something about this since we have illegal aliens who purposely use folks SSN numbers to work and we don’t know who the Heck they are or what they did in their home country ? why is Lindsay lohan, paris hilton, charlie sheen and former mayor guliani of new york’s daughter who was caught shoplifting charges was dismissed ?? these guys get the mink or kid glove treatment compared to folks that look like Lil Wayne, T.I. , Lil Kim, Mike tyson, george lopez, Jlo (is she was broke) !! I SEE WHY THE CRIME IS SKYROCKETING, THESE FOLKS CAN’T FIND A DECENT JOB….NOT EVEN TO PICK UP DOG POOP IN THE PARK ???

  • HRSandy

    I personally could not live without the “conviction question” on our application. It’s not only a way to screen applicants, it’s a way to see how honest a person is. In our company, we deal with customers, their vehicles, and their personal possessions. We have a policy of no theft, violent, vehicle, or sex convictions. Even some of those have limits based on how long ago the conviction was and whether or not it was a felony or a misdemeanor. Every thing goes by a set scale based on crime and time passed. There’s a really fine line that employers have to walk to be EEOC compliant while avoiding negligent hiring practices at the same time. In my opinion, it should not be considered discrimination not to hire someone based on a choice that they made for themselves, criminal or otherwise. I have had people accuse me of discriminating because they were not hired based on a company policy (that was passed by a lawyer to make sure of legality) regarding gold teeth and tattoos. These were personal choices that the applicants made that, in turn, made them less marketable to companies with a “family based” image. The same goes for criminal convictions. It doesn’t matter what color you are, if you make the choice, you only have yourself to blame. Although it seems that Aubra can blame her ex and a faulty legal system.

  • Joe

    @HR Sandy- I appreciate that you state your policy considers how long ago the crime happened. However, it appears that based on your current hiring policy, you should be asking your potential applicants: ” Have you ever been convicted of theft in the last xx years, sex related crimes in the last xx years…” For those individuals that mark yes on your application without being directly asked how long it has been is loosing a chance for fair consideration. There is no need to have blanket questions on convictions if it doesn’t matter whether the person committed a specific crime over a specific amount of years. Secondly how can you use “Family image” as a reason to deny people with criminal records? Are you meaning ex-cons do not have family? Or they can not portray a family image for the company? If it is the latter I beg to defer. There are millions of families who have children, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, aunts, uncles who have been convicted of crimes. There are millions of children who are living in poverty because their parents committed crimes years ago and society will not let their father succeed by gaining a good job that will allow him to take care of his family. To me a family image should portray a work place that gives second chances, that has empathy and understanding. And please stop using the fear of negligent hiring or being sued if a person with a record commits a unlawful act. You are at no greater risk of having that happen by someone who has committed a crime than someone in your business who hasn’t committed a crime that has chosen to commit a crime. Please do some research and read facts, statistics and stop using fear. If you own child was convicted of a crime, would you deny them a job? Would you sit idle and watch them struggle in finding employment? I think not. If a person has was not been convicted of crime that had anything to do with their employment then they shouldn’t be denied employment period.

  • Lady Fleder

    I have read a number of the comments on the page. I am a business education teacher that works with teens in a low poverty, low income area; this does not excuse the behavior. However, there are still occurences where some of my students have records already. What does that say to them? My role as an educator is to prepare them for the work environment and show them that there are good things that could happen for them, but if they are automatically greeted with constant NO’s because they did foolish things in their young age, what do you think they will do? They will automatically assume that all they have available to them is hustling & crime….. I feel that it is the responsibility of the human resources department to solicit further information concerning the crime commited, because it may look or sound worse than what the offense may really be; also there should be a further look into the credit report as well, because there could have been fraud or identity theft that the person may have been fighting and nothing had changed yet…. I am a person that believe in second chances and in order to reduce the crime rates and economy deficits, if people who are really trying to better their lives and do right in society that should be looked at. I t is not always a person with a record that will be the “PROBLEM” on the job; there are people with no records at all that will lose their cool and cause harm to people because they just can’t handle the stress. I agree with Mike, if a person has made a mistake years ago and have learned their lesson (doing something in their adolescent years or years when they would have had no responsibilities), they should be given another opportunity to prove that.

  • http://montgomeryaviation.net DontheHRguy

    I agree, in part, with Lady Fleder. I believe that most of the comments are directed at adults and not kids. However, having said that, each person needs to be treated as a separate individual. Background checks should be used only as a “guide” and not the final word on whether or not he or she gets “the” job. On the other side of the coin, if I have a background check that shows that this 19 year old committed murder, caught selling drugs, car jacking, armed robbery, I dont think that “giving this person a break” is in the cards. If he is that young, committed these kinds of crimes, I dont think I would want to expose my employees to the possibility of trouble. If the kid can show me that he “has changed” and wants to make good, I may relent and find a way to employ him but that is a big “if”. I do respect your job and position and the committment you have in what you are doing Lady Fleder, and do see your point of view. All I can say at this point is “be careful on whom you give a break too.”

  • HRSandy

    @ Joe: The “family image” example was not in reference to convictions, but the tattoo/gold teeth issue. And it is the responsibility of HR to protect the company, not give everyone the benefit of the doubt. What you call fear is caution. I understand that there are cracks in the system, sometimes huge ones, that get good people caught up in bad things. That doesn’t change the fact that we don’t want people convicted of drug dealing or theft working for our company. We believe in second chances, and there are certain convictions that we overlook, but there are limits.

  • Spencer

    Background checks discriminate and therefore prevent many people from working.
    By preventing people from working, you prevent America from economic recovery.

    It is a fact, whether anyone wants to acknowledge it or not, Blacks, Latinos and other minorities are both arrested and convicted at significantly higher rates than any other race. It is not a matter of these people doing more crime, but of them being singled out for disparate treatment.

    Have you never heard of the “crime” DRIVING WHILE BLACK?
    How about BLACK IN THE WRONG NEIGHBORHOOD?
    HISPANIC IN TOO NICE A CAR? — All are apparently “crimes” as police officers make arrests for such everyday.

    Another problem with Background Checks is there no standardization. Background checks include any number of things – not just criminal, but civil cases – have you been sued, have you sued someone else; Have you filed an EEOC complaint, have you filed bankruptcy, how’s your credit, any IRS liens, rental checks, schools checks, neighbor checks, MIB (Medical Information Bureau)- medical checks, family member checks, and so on and so on. But how much of that is really, truly relevant to whether you can do a job?

    Also, there is no requirement that what is reported about you is true – lots of incorrect information out there. In fact, The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports an estimated 11.7 million persons were victimized by Identity theft in 2008, so what happens to people whose identity was stolen when a background check comes up? They do not get the job.

    Finally, there is strong evidence that Back Ground Checks do not reduce work place crime. Nationally, embezzlement (stealing from an employer) cases increased by 39 percent between 1990 and 2000, according to U.S. Department of Justice statistics. But, Background Checks have increased many times that amount.

    Another interesting statistic: only a very small percentage of embezzlers are hardened criminals. A forensic accountant doing post-employment investigations reports only one individual who intended to steal when he took the job, and that person’s theft was paying his restitution in another state.

    Think, if someone wants to work, they don’t want to rob you!

    Once all this negative stuff starts to circulate, it is out there and is treated like some sort of Bible truth.
    Good luck ever getting a job and you may never have committed crime at all.

    We need to stop being afraid of each other.
    We need to stop doing Background Checks and Start the American Economic Recovery.

  • buddy

    What about a person who was caught bying marijuana for himself and his friends when he was 19
    years old (20 years ago) and because it was more than a certain amount was charged and convicted of posession with intent to distribute (felony). He went thru rehab and has been clean for 20 years but cannot get a good paying job even tho he has a good work record because this felony is on his record. As soon as he tells them about it he’s told don’t call us we’ll call you. He has college degree but cannot get licensed for the job he went to college for. He never lies on his application but very seldom gets past the interview stage for promotion. He was given probation (completed it without a hitch) and has been trying to get ahead ever since. He has a family and has been a upstanding citizen but he can’t vote or have a firearm to protect himself. I thought his sentence was 18 mos but it appears that society feels that they need to pass their own sentence. How fair is that Sandy????

  • HRSandy

    We only go back 7 years. A drug conviction that old has no bearing on our hiring decisions. People do stupid things when they are young and we understand that. But we also employ a lot of younger people. Would you want someone recently convicted of something like distribution (or intent thereof) working with your child? I wouldn’t. Or someone that was convicted of felony theft that got out of jail six months ago having access to your company’s and customers’ belongings? Definitely not, and its a problem we had until we started doing background checks. Results don’t lie. So I reiterate: it is HR’s responsibility to protect the company and its employees and customers, not give everyone that walks through the door a chance.

  • Joe

    @HR Sandy-

    Caution is driven by fear of something possibly happening. I respect your position but at the sametime if a person’s conviction of drugs or theft is 10, 20, 30 years old there is no adequate evidence to continue deny these individuals from employment, nor cause to say this individual is a risk to your employer or staff,.. Please research Bushway’s 50+ years of research about this very subject. You will be educated that the longer the conviction ages, the individual is less likely to re-offend and actually decreases below a person who has never offended in their life. This very reason is why I stand against blanket policies against any crimes. Even the current EEOC states you consideration must be given to age of individual at the time of conviction, seriousness of the offense, history of rehabilitation and age of offense. If you cannot find the research I have spoken of please let me know and I will be more than happy to try to provide links here to the information. Please note this information is very credible and well researched.

  • HRSandy

    @Joe
    What did you read in any of my posts that gave you the impression that we have any kind of blanket policy? I am completely against blanket policies as they would have disqualified some of the best employees we have. And as I said before, we only go back 7 years and we use a very detailed, specific timeline/offense guideline to make sure that we are consistent with what offenses we reject and accept based on the severity and age of the offense. I’ve been to numerous trainings, classes, and seminars to make sure that we are FCRA and EEO compliant. I’m sorry that a lot of you disagree with me, but I believe background checks to be a valuable tool in reducing the risk of negligent hiring.

  • Jessica

    I think employers need to stop their policy of not hiring people convicted of minor misdemeanors. I know someone convicted of trespassing after some friends lied on her to get the conviction. She now cannot find a job as a financial analyst. The trespassing has nothing to do with her ability prepare financial statements as she has done for 10 years. Companies now refuse to hire her and she is slowly becoming homeless because she cannot pay her rent.

  • http://montgomeryaviation.net HR Don

    I agree with HRSandy and Jessica. I cant believe that a person with a minor misdemeansor (for tresassing) would be turned down for a job just because she was “convicted”, of all things trespassing. We all have our thoughts regarding conviced felons but something this minor? Nope, cant risk body and limb of our employees. And certainly we cant trust a person dealing in fiancial affairs of our company by a person with a trespassing conviction. Shame on the HR person or a company that does not take into account what the charge was, convicted or not.

  • Jessica

    HR Don and HR Sandy Says,

    I agree with what you say. THe most recent companies that would not hire my friend were DuPont, HCA, Sears Holding. They would not even give her a chance to explain the circumstances of the trespassing charge. They would not even talk to her.

  • Olliebuba

    My husband recently started a new job and was subsequently fired due to a background check (we have a letter stating such with the background results). The background showed a misdemeanor traffic violation from 1997 that resulted in a $110 fine. Even worse, the background company also listed a civil traffic violation as a misdemeanor, which it clearly was not (we pulled the court records). So if you believe these data mining companies dont make mistakes, think again. He was hired to work in a call center so I’m not sure how this would impact his ability to perform the job. Sadly our society continues to condemn people years after they have paid their debt. My husband is currently collecting unemployment and will continue to do so until he finds a job or 99 weeks, whichever comes sooner. Since his children are not mine and cannot be placed on my health insurance, they are on state assistance. He is also eligible for food stamps and cash assistance. If our politicians and society as a whole is unwilling to enact laws to prevent these discriminatory hiring practices, then We can all support these individuals through our taxes. I would prefer to see them be productive members of society.

  • MMAN

    As we can see from different states’ legislation that have passed recently, the use of background checks period is becoming more and more restrictive. This is what happens when organizations use such a screening method inappropriately as Olliebuba says. However, I do support their use only to the extent of protecting company property, staff, and customers. I mean I can see disqualifying someone for having a recent felony conviction (within the last 7 years or so) but what I can’t see it disqualifying someone from employment due to credit issues or bankruptcy. To me, that is way too intrusive.

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