The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently issued guidance standards for employers who utilize criminal background investigations. The primary guidance is making sure your use facilitates fair and consistent evaluation of all applicants. If you use a job application or you inquire about an applicant’s criminal conviction history, you may be required to prove you have a good business reason for seeking such information for the particular position. Therefore, make sure you:

  1. Eliminate policies that impose an absolute bar to employment based on any conviction;
  2. Train decision makers about appropriate use of conviction history in hiring, promotion, and separation;
  3. Tailor your procedures to ensure that criminal pasts are job-related and consistent with business necessity, including:
      • The nature of the crime
      • The time elapsed since the conviction
      • The nature of the job applying for
  4. Do not ask applicants for disclosure of convictions that are not job-related and consistent with business necessity;
  5. Keep information about applicants’ and employees’ conviction history confidential; and
  6. Make adjustments needed to the extent practices cannot be justified as job-related and consistent with business necessity.

For more information contact our Business Law Group partner, David Closson at [email protected].

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