July 28, 2020
What seems like ages ago, in April 2012 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released their Consolidated Guidance on the Use of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This guidance addressed the unintended discriminatory impact of criminal background checks on certain minority groups. If a background check reveals that an applicant has a record, employers should review the EEOC’s guidance to ensure that the nature and gravity of the offense is considered, along with the time that has passed since the conviction, and the nature of the job held or sought.
The EEOC’s recommendation was for employers to establish a hiring or decision matrix in their screening process to avoid having a deny-all or blanket-deny policy for arrests and convictions. A hiring/decision matrix is a table or form with a list of offenses that a company reviews to standardize which offenses are acceptable and which are not. When using the decision matrix, think about basing the decision on the unique needs of the organization and all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
Once you have created your hiring/decision matrix your company can also create a background screening policy. Employers have the option of creating a hiring/decision matrix specific to their workplace to help determine which criminal convictions the company considers relevant. This way, the guidelines are applied consistently and create a clear standard against which every applicant is measured.
Generally, qualifications based on criminal history should be position-specific and should not include blanket policies. An example I often use – an applicant’s DUI conviction may be considered for positions involving driving. Theft convictions may be considered for positions involving cash access or money handling, and violent crimes may be considered for positions involving vulnerable populations. Ideally, the hiring/decision matrix can be a useful tool to avoid any unintended bias, to ensure that hiring personnel are held to a consistent standard, and to document that a criminal background screening policy is job-related and applied in a non-discriminatory manner.
For a Sample Decision Matrix template, Validity Screening Solutions has you covered here.
To read the EEOC’s Guidance in its entirety, visit https://bit.ly/2BADkn3
This information has been prepared by Validity Screening Solutions for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. The content is intended for general information purposes only, and you are urged to consult a lawyer concerning your own situation and any specific legal questions you may have.