You interview someone and like them but they have a record – what do you do next? The EEOC recently established guidelines for inquiries about arrests and convictions. Although it is not yet an enforced law, it is important that employers understand what the EEOC considers to be discrimination. Hiring managers should start to take certain precautions now, in order to prevent unintentional discrimination in the future. Not following the EEOC guidelines can lead to expensive lawsuits and damaged reputations.
Here are five things to consider when an ex-offender comes across your desk.
1. Re-verification of results:
Depending on the type and quality of check used it is not uncommon to get false results or mistake an identity. Mistakes almost always equal a lawsuit, something no company wants. Through re-verification mistakes can be avoided; giving job seekers the fair chance they deserve and companies peace of mind.
2. The nature of the crime:
The EEOC requests that all employers use a personal assessment when making a hiring decision about an ex-convict. Part of that assessment is to consider the nature of the crime. Was it one time? Was it a youthful mistake? Was it a serious crime? Different types of crimes call for different actions on the employer’s part.
3. The nature of the open position:
After assessing the nature of the crime hiring managers must then compare it to the nature of the position. If the position deals with children and the crime happened to involve a child that would constitute a reason to deny the applicant. Where on the other hand if the crime was one charge for drugs as a teenager and the job is for a receptionist – the employer then must consider them for the position.
4. Time elapsed since crime:
The final step in a personal assessment is to consider the time elapsed since the crime or conviction. If using a reporting agency, they are required by law only to report crimes after a certain date but if searching on your own you must consider time. Generally any crime 10 years or older cannot be used against an applicant.
5. Rehabilitation and behavior since arrest:
This is something that isn’t required but recommended. A good way to judge a candidate is to look at how they have re-entered society or behaved since their arrest. This can be a good indication of how they will be as an employee. If they have made a good effort to be an upstanding citizen and keep the past in the past then odds are they will make a good employee.
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