BEST PRACTICE #9 FOR PROPER USE OF CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS IN HIRING
Earlier this summer, a group of consultants got together with representatives from the National H.I.R.E. Network, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the National Workrights Institute to publish their recommendations for staying within the lines of the 2012 EEOC guidance on the use of criminal history checks in the course of background screening. Their publication, called Best Practice Standards: The Proper Use of Criminal Records in Hiring, is gaining attention from the industry not so much for being original, but for their conscious effort to deliver the advice that many HR are looking for.
Yet with 15 points of instruction detailed across 30 pages of content, some are still struggling to find time to review this consolidated viewpoint, instead choosing to ring our office for advice. Because Barada is already addressing many of their recommendations in the services we’re delivering to our clients, we thought it prudent to weigh in with our opinion as well point out just how we’re addressing the issue.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be breaking down their publication into more manageable bites and dropping them into your inbox for quick and easy consumption. Here’s point #9:
EMPLOYERS SHOULD ONLY CONSIDER CONVICTIONS THAT ARE RECENT AND RELEVANT TO THE JOB
Working backward, employers are free to decide what constitutes a recent conviction, but there are restrictions in some states that limit access to conviction records to the last seven years. In other states conviction records are available back as far as the employer wants to go. It’s important, therefore, for employers to know the restrictions of the state in which they’re located. If an employer isn’t sure what his state – or adjoining states – restrictions are on reporting convictions, it’s best to use the most recent seven years as a guideline.
The relevancy of some offenses is clear. For a financial position, an employer could certainly consider convictions for things like fraud, theft, and conversion, just to mention a few convictions, to be relevant to the job.
Some convictions are more difficult to easily define as relevant. One solution is for employers to have a “safe hire” policy that lets applicants know what convictions the employer will consider to be relevant to the job openings to be filled. In instances where relevancy isn’t all that clear, it would be wise to consult the company’s legal department or outside attorney. Another thing to consider is developing a solid “safe hire” policy.