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What is Your Company’s Policy?

So, you have submitted and received a background check on a potential employee, what comes next? Do you already have your mind made up if that person has a criminal record not to hire them? Is this a policy that your company has implemented to keep those with a criminal record from working at your company? If so, you may want to rethink this policy.

Criminal Records in the US

According to statistics from the ACLU, one in three adults, or 70 million Americans, have a criminal background. This can be contributed to the U.S. Justice Department policies that led to mass incarceration over the course of several decades, however, the chaos effect that occurs after one has a criminal record can be damning to say the least.

Know Your Local Laws

Depending on your state and county, there may be laws put in place to prevent discrimination in hiring based on the existence of a criminal record, so it is important to understand your local labor laws before implementing a strict ‘no hiring anyone with a record’ type policy at your company.

Ban the Box

By this past September, 36 states have changed course and adopted fair hiring practices into law, known as or like “Ban the Box” laws. Ban the Box is a civil rights organization that takes aim at doing just that, Banning the box on an employment application that asks if the potential employee has been convicted of a crime. The organization is centered around governmental and public hiring practices, and how social change can positively affect communities through employment and education.

What Now?

When you get your background check back, the ball is in your court as the employer. Assuming the employee in question is aware of the background check and consented to it, if information has arisen in that report that is incongruent with the employers’ standards for employment, the employer can make a judgment call on whether or not to hire or fire said employee. It is important for employers to be acquainted with EEOC guidelines to ensure that their decision is legally warranted.

Consider the Data

Whatever your company’s policy on hiring those with criminal records, the data shows that there is a definite upside. According to an article by Daryl Atkinson, economists have confirmed that among second-chance employees, “retention rates are higher, turnover is lower, and employees with criminal records are more loyal.” There are also tax benefits to giving those with a record a second chance. The U.S. Department of Labor offers the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit—it “allows employers who hire workers with criminal records to reduce their federal income tax by as much as $9,600 per employee in the first two years of work.”

Know Who You Are Hiring

An employer discovering that someone has a criminal record is unsettling, both for the employer, and for the potential employee. However, whether a candidate is hired, or an employee is fired is entirely up to the employer, working within the EEOC guidelines. There is room for growth in second chance hiring, but in order to make these decisions, and be aware of who exactly you are hiring, background checks need to be done by a company that is certified by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).

Trust is Key

At ESS, we adhere to the strictest requirements and have access to a wide variety of databases to get you accurate and properly documented background screening to keep you well informed and you and your company safe. We have connections on the federal, state, and local levels and ensure that our work for you is complete and confidential. Trust is a large part of the decision to hire someone, and trust is what we have built with our clients and their communities for over 30 years.