July 28, 2011

Are Criminal Background Checks Unfairly Discriminatory?

It is possible, that out of the hearings, could come legislation that would require an employer to document specific reasons for not hiring a person, and maybe a requirement to send a letter to the applicant. Then if contested by an applicant, something would be documented. That would place the burden on the employer to give a fairer consideration of applicants. This would be a start!
7-28-2011 National:

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is holding a hearing today on an important topic for companies: Can they consider job applicants’ criminal histories in making hiring decisions?

The hearing will examine the law governing background screening and consider the extent to which individuals with arrest and conviction records face barriers in getting hired.

The hearing comes at a time in which an increasing number of employers are seeking criminal background checks out of security concerns, according to this item in the Washington Post’s Federal Eye blog. And some advocates, the Post reports, are pushing for legislation that would require certain employers to perform criminal background checks.

But the EEOC, as we noted in this earlier post, has in the past expressed concern that companies may improperly discriminate against minorities, who have been arrested at a disproportionate rate, when they screen out job applicants with criminal records. The agency has even sued some companies, alleging they have used arrest records improperly.

So, is background screening fair game for employers?

Paul Evans, a partner at Morgan, Lewis, offered the Law Blog some thoughts on the topic. “Employers have legal obligations to protect the safety of their customers and employees,” he said. Criminal record checks “allow employers to meet these obligations by ensuring that individuals with violent histories are not hired into roles, such as in-home service technician roles, that provide them with private access to customers and employees.”

Companies, he added, typically do not implement blanket prohibitions against hiring applicants with a criminal record. “In my experience, employers have well-reasoned criminal record check policies tailored to the jobs for which they are hiring,” Evans said.

An EEOC spokeswoman told the Law Blog that the agency is concerned that the employers may be prone to weed out applicants who have long-ago arrests that never led to a conviction. “It is of great concern to us that inaccurate information might be used to deny people employment,” she said. “This is also an economic concern for communities, because if ex-offenders are not given jobs the chances are that they may re-offend,” she added. ..Source.. by Nathan Koppel


Anonymous said...

There is NOTHING discriminatory when it comes to FSO's. Remember, we have been discriminated against
since the very first day we were forced to be on a public registry.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure on what planet Mr. Evans got his "experience," but it wasn't this one! At least 90% of white-collar employers subscribe to the policy: Convicted felon? Take a hike! That's pretty "blanket" in my book. And from my personal experience, I would like to know what kind of "well-reasoned" policy leads companies to tell me I am unfit to write computer software for a corporation because I had sex with a teenager 25 years ago. Well-reasoned, my ***!

Anonymous said...

This guy Evans is a typical lawyer.
Could give a rats a** about FSO"s.
Anyone living in the REAL WORLD knows that any company with a name will not hire an FSO. Or should I say any business that wants to KEEP thier name. That is just the way it is.Employers dicriminate against all kinds of people all the time, and get away with it easily.The writer of the article does add the other side from an EEOC person who comments on long ago arrest with no conviction.
Who do these people think they are fooling???