BEST PRACTICE #4 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 #4:
DO NOT ASK ABOUT CRIMINAL RECORDS ON APPLICATION FORMS
While one might assume that the most expeditious way to screen applicants would be to do a court check before bothering to schedule and carry out a job interview, Best Practices makes the point that an employer should not routinely screen out people with prior convictions without knowing what the conviction was for, or how long ago it was, or without knowing if the conviction was relevant to the job or not.
Stated another way, by asking whether the prospective candidate has ever been convicted of anything other than a minor traffic offense gives the distinct impression the employer is eliminating all candidates with a prior conviction out-of-hand without knowing anything about it, thereby violating EEOC guidelines.
More importantly, the truth of the matter is that until the employer really knows more about the candidate’s past job performance and suitability for the position, it’s simply unfair to base a hiring decision on knowing nothing more then a prior conviction exists!