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April 15, 2017

A Criminal Background Check is a Risky Business

risky business to earn moneyThere have been lawsuits filed in the past that suggest something rather scary for your company. If you make the decision to not employ applicants at your firm who have a past history of criminal violations, you stand to face charges of discrimination, based on race and other factors. This protocol is due to guidelines that are in place by the EEOC or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to tritoncanada.ca, you can’t just turn people away because of unrelated criminal records.

You Need to Consider All Factors

For example, if your company deals in stocking auto parts at a warehouse, you can’t turn an applicant with a record for insurance fraud from fifteen years ago away from the opportunity. According to the commission, you aren’t allowed to turn people away based on the fact that they have a history. Instead, you are required to evaluate that record and see if the offenses they committed have an effect on their ability to perform their job duties correctly, or if the safety of the other employees at the firm is in danger.

Racial Discrimination Suits Could Arise

It is a well-known fact by now that over 70% of employers in the US run checks on potential job applicants’ criminal records. The number of people with such records in the USA has been rising over the years at the same time. Those individuals who have a criminal record without being convicted of a crime, an arrest can lead to a black mark on the record. Many of the people with such records have never committed a violent crime and have never spent time in jail. Employers tend to generalize everyone with a criminal record as being a threat to safety, which is blatant discrimination.

The case gets even trickier when you consider the statistics for arrests and convictions in the US. Black people are imprisoned six times as white people in the country. A company can be sued for racial discrimination if they turn away people with criminal records. You are allowed to use a background test in your business, of course, but you have to consider factors in this check including the type of crime committed, how relevant it is to the job, and how long it has been since the applicant’s last offense.

Explanations Need to be Made and Received

Even after all this is considered, and you still can’t hire the applicant, you have to explain to the person in writing why you couldn’t hire them. This cause needs a satisfactory explanation of why their criminal history makes them unfit. The law firm must give you a chance to explain yourself and prove you can perform well on the job at hand.

If you have a criminal record that shows a violent crime being committed, it’s one of the only times they can immediately reject an application. In recent years, a conviction for malicious and intentional assault and battery would indicate a red flag, for example.

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