An estimated 65 million Americans, or one in four Americans within the working age bracket, have some kind of criminal record. It is estimated that 92 percent of employers run criminal background checks when they screen applicants for a job. An individual who has a history of arrests and/or convictions can find it very difficult to obtain a job.
There is currently no federal law that prohibits employment discrimination based on a criminal record. However, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have ruled that discrimination based on a criminal record can be a form of racial discrimination because some racial groups are convicted in larger numbers. Despite these protests, employers are not federally prohibited from refusing to hire an individual because of their criminal record.
Some state laws can prohibit an employer from asking about prior arrests or convictions. In California, for example, the state places many restrictions on employers, prohibiting them from asking about prior arrests that did not lead to a conviction. However, an employer in California can ask job-related questions relating to a conviction. It is important to know what your state’s laws rule on criminal records being used in the hiring process.
Arrest and Conviction Records
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, conviction records are “reliable evidence” that an individual engaged in the alleged illegal activity. This is because the justice system requires proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” for a conviction. On the other hand, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rules that arrests alone are not reliable evidence that a person has actually committed a crime. In most states, employers can ask questions pertaining to arrests for which the applicant is awaiting trial, but not about arrests in which they did not go to trial.
Employers can refuse to hire employees with criminal records if a “business necessity” exists. A business necessity is when the applicant’s conduct indicates that they are unsuitable for the position they have applied for. This can include an applicant who was arrested in a job-related incident. State and federal laws prohibit certain persons with criminal records from ever securing specific employment opportunities, such as working with children or in the health care system.
Criminal Background Screening with Checkpoint
Checkpoint Screening is pleased to offer a wide range of pre-employment screening services including criminal history and sex offender checks. Hiring a new employee can be difficult. To ensure you make the best decision it is important to have accurate and current information. When you want to ensure the information on your potential employee is correct and complete, trust Checkpoint’s extensive background screening services.