Tuesday, July 31, 2012

EXAMINER | Nearly 7 of 10 employers conduct criminal background checks on all candidates

Considering Ward 8 has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country we should be mindful of all barriers to employment. What are your thoughts on employers conducting background checks? What is the balance between creating a safe work environment and providing jobs for those in need of them?

Go HERE to read the full article.


  • Among organizations that conduct criminal background checks, 62 percent initiate criminal background checks after a contingent job offer and 32 percent initiate them after the a job interview. Only 4 percent of organizations initiate criminal background checks before a job interview.
  • 52 percent of organizations conduct criminal background checks on job candidates to reduce legal liability for negligent hiring while 49 percent conducted them to ensure a safe work environment for employees.
  • 96 percent of organizations say that they are influenced not to hire convicted violent felons while 74 percent say they are influenced by non-violent felony convictions.


To submit an article or to inquire about advertising send an email to Advoc8te@congressheightsontherise.com.


Sirje said...

Actually, this post is very timely, because the U.S. Department of Labor just held a summit today to discuss reintegrating formerly incarcerated citizens back into society through employment. I'm not sure how long it will be available on the page, but for now you can view a webcast of the event here: http://www.dol.gov/dol/media/webcast/live/. There was not much discussion that was specifically relevant to DC or Ward 8, though--many of the speakers either talked about federal-level initiatives or were from other communities across the country (would have been nice to have more DC local representation on the program, for sure!)

Sirje said...

Also, on the subject of criminal background checks and employer reluctance to hire, there needs to be substantial awareness-raising among the employer community AND better enforcement of violations.

Unfortunately, the Examiner article focused only on the SHRM survey and completely ignored legality issues involved in criminal background checks and a key part of the criminal background story--the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In my experience, this is not widely known among employers or the general public, but according to EEOC guidelines that have been on the books since the MID-1980s, it is not lawful under the Civil Rights Act for employers to impose a blanket ban on hiring individuals with conviction or arrest records. Rather, employers are supposed to take into account the nature of the crime, the time elapsed since the crime, and the job-relatednes of the crime. For example, it would be legal for a convenience store to put a ban on hiring cashiers who'd served time for theft, fraud, or armed robbery, since they could argue those are job-related convictions. The convenience store, however, CANNOT simply say that as a matter of HR policy it will only hire candidates with a clean conviction/arrest record, since that's a blanket ban.

If anyone is interested in learning more, the National Employment Law Project explains this much better than I can: http://www.nelp.org/index.php/content/content_issues/category/criminal_records_and_employment/. NELP offers a number of different presentations and fact sheets on the issue, as well as summaries of updated EEOC guidance that reaffirms the 1980s-era policy but also includes much more detail, such as examples of what employers are and aren't allowed to in regards to criminal background hiring.