Criminal Record Not Necessarily Grounds for Unemployment

Posted by Kristina Taylor
July 18, 2011

Criminal Record Not Necessarily Grounds for Unemployment

Deciding to use pre-employment screening tactics for all potential hires is one of the wisest moves an employer can make. Employing a reputable company to carry out those background checks is the second wisest move. But there is a third step, one that involves just as much business savvy and interpersonal skills. That step is interpreting those reports correctly — particularly the results from a criminal background screening — and making fair, unbiased judgment calls based on the information gleaned from the screening.

For example, many employers believe they can disqualify an applicant based on a criminal conviction, with no further reason beyond “You have a criminal record.” But not only is that logic faulty, that business tactic is illegal. Once a person has served the applicable punishment for his crime, the law does not allow him to be indiscriminately penalized for the rest of his life by being rendered unemployable. If the job parameters have nothing to do with the crime he committed, his criminal past should not affect his employable future.

Of course there are exceptions. A wise employer knows not to give a convicted sex offender a job as a camp counselor, for example. But job applicants have the right for the sum of their experience, education and job history to be taken into account, particularly if the criminal conviction was eons ago and for something completely unrelated to the job for which the person is applying.

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