By Katie Pillion
Vice-President, Genesis Background Screening Services
While a recent Fourth Circuit decision in EEOC v. Freeman came out in favor of the employer, the reality is that the law is constantly changing in regard to when and how you can use background screening as a hiring tool. Although background screens and criminal history records are necessary for a good hiring process, it is imperative to stay compliant to avoid significant risk of litigation. This is especially true for employers who have a high turnover rate for hourly workers. In reviewing the Freeman case, we’ve compiled a few practical tips that can help you hire the best candidates.
Check your background screening policy. It should clearly outline that adverse action should only be taken if the conviction is recent, is job related, and is a business necessity. For example: excluding a candidate from a Security Officer position due to a felony grand theft conviction 6 months ago would be a reasonable assessment as long as you follow the pre-adverse and adverse process. What you’re looking for is an individualized assessment for each background check that contains adverse information.
Individualized assessment on each applicant should look at 3 things:
- What is the nature of the crime?
- How does the crime relate to the position for which he/she has applied
- How recent was the conviction/end of sentence?
Another example: you may be considering someone for a position in your office as a bookeeper’s assistant. This candidate has a conviction for a DUI from 6 years ago. This kind of conviction isn’t relevant to your open position and would not be a legal reason to withdraw your job offer.
Set up different levels of background checks that are customized to supply only the information relevant to the position for which the candidate has applied, which will help with ensuring that the resulting background reports will be compatible with what you need to make a compliant decision.
Train anyone who makes hiring decisions or is exposed to background check results. They need to know how to handle the information with care, how to apply your individualized assessment, and how to follow up with the FCRA mandated pre-adverse and adverse action notices.
Though EEOC cases concerning background checks were on the rise in 2015, it is still possible to have a completely compliant background checking policy in place going into 2016. Genesis Background Screening Services can help you stay compliant and incorporate Best Practices into your hiring process. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, you can call 866-944-0041 ext 106, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.genesisbackgroundscreening.com