BEST PRACTICE #3 FOR PROPER USE OF CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS IN HIRING
Today we continue our recommendations based on a recent paper published by representatives from the National H.I.R.E. Network, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the National Workrights Institute, called Best Practice Standards: The Proper Use of Criminal Records in Hiring, with a look at point #3:
CONSIDER ONLY CONVICTIONS RECENT ENOUGH TO INDICATE SIGNIFICANT RISK
Best Practice Standards suggests that employers “consider the available evidence on recidivism rates before rejecting an applicant.” First off, “recidivism” generally means repeated or habitual criminal behavior. One must conclude that convictions for any crimes can be taken into consideration in a hiring decision. Personally, I think that definition is a little vague. The real issue is how recently any conviction or convictions took place.
One would think that if a candidate has a solid record of good job performance for the last seven years or more, any convictions prior to that would make it very unlikely that the candidate would commit another criminal act. Put another way, a criminal conviction ten or fifteen years ago should not disqualify a candidate from equal consideration for employment.
Obviously, each employer’s hiring requirements are going to be different depending on what they do or what they produce. The point is employers need a clear policy in place about how long ago a conviction will cause a job applicant to be rejected.