Should you Hire Someone with a Criminal Record?
Posted by Pamela S. on Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
According to a case study conducted in March, 2011 by the National Employment Law project, over 65 million Americans have been arrested, or have a criminal record. The study focuses on the increasing demand for criminal background checks in the hirin
g process. When should you conduct a criminal history search on applicants and how do you determine when a criminal record is a deal breaker?
Most people aren’t going to be forthcoming about their criminal history on an application. In order to protect your business and your employees, a criminal background check has become a necessity. Some people lie about everything on their resumes to get the job, and you deserve to know the truth. What do you do with that knowledge, and are you getting all of the information you need to make an informed decision?
Read the study here: “65 MILLION “NEED NOTAPPLY” The Case for Reforming Criminal Background Checks for Employment”
You can order criminal background checks from dozens of online companies, however many online screening companies don’t conduct a proper search. Some online screening companies claim they conduct a nationwide criminal records check. In the United States there are no national databases available to the public. Records must be searched by county. Many of these companies compile information from free inmate or sexual offender registries. This information may not be verified. The only nationwide criminal registry in the US is The N.C.I.C. (National Criminal Information Center), used by law enforcement and other criminal justice organizations.
Some people are also able to obtain pardons or have their record expunged. These will not show up in a screening.
A private investigation agency has far more resources and knowledge regarding this process. Many investigation companies are owned and operated by former law enforcement personnel who understand the complex U.S. legal information system.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides detailed guidelines on “Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964”. The guidelines were updated in April, 2012.
According to the EEOC, “In one survey, a total of 92% of responding employers stated that they subjected all or some of their job candidates to criminal background checks.”
Employers use criminal history checks to protect the company against negligent hiring lawsuits, fraud, theft and workplace violence. There are also federal and state laws that mandate a criminal check for certain employees or occupations.
What concerns many employers is this section of the guidelines: “Under Title VII of our civil rights laws, employers may not deny employment based on a conviction except when the offense is job related.”
A criminal record is not listed as a protected right, such as that which prohibits discrimination on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
According to the EEOC, employers should base their decisions on these two analytical frameworks: disparate treatment and disparate impact.
The guide recommends that employers follow these three ‘green factors’ when making a hiring decision involving prospective employees with a criminal record :
• The nature or gravity of the offense or conduct.
• The time elapsed since the offense, conviction; and/or completion of the sentence.
• The nature of the job sought or held.
An improper screening can result in hiring someone who has a criminal record or could be a danger to your organization. On the flip side, many people with criminal records deserve a chance to make a legitimate living and turn their lives around. Someone who committed a petty crime as a young person shouldn’t be unemployable based on something stupid that they did many years ago. Half the celebrities in Hollywood have been arrested for something, yet they still work.
An extreme example of this is has gone viral this week: Richard Eggers is a 68 year old man who worked for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage for seven years. Back in 1963, when he was a teenager, he did something stupid. He tried to insert a homemade slug into a Laundromat washing machine. The slug was made out of cardboard, which wasn’t the brightest move, and he was arrested and convicted of operating a coin-changing machine by false means.
Eggers was fired from his position as a customer service representative in July, when a criminal record search brought this crime to light. Wells Fargo told ABC affiliate WOI-TV, that new federal regulations on banks and mortgage lenders that came into effect last year led to the firing and that they do not have discretion in these cases.
The federal laws weren’t put into place to affect low level workers such as Vietnam Vet, Eggers. It was supposed to weed out those people at the top who almost
destroyed our banking and mortgage system.
Pre-employment background screenings, including criminal checks are a valuable tool to ensure that you hire the right person for the job. Use the information wisely.
Former FBI Assistant Director Tom Sheer has recruited the best from the FBI, DEA, IRS and Secret Service to build a formidable team at Sheer Investigations. Our private investigators have the sensitivity and experience to handle the most delicate investigations.