6 quick tips for hiring applicants with criminal histories
“Those of you who are really in tune with Title VII and EEOC guidelines, you should already know you should be looking at people with criminal histories,” a panelist said Monday.
March 19, 2019
WASHINGTON — An employer is behind if it’s only beginning consider tapping into the large talent pool of individuals with criminal histories, Innova Legal Advisors PC Attorney Heidi Mason said during a panel at the Society for Human Resource Management’s Employment Law & Legislative Conference Monday afternoon.
In fact, an employer may run afoul of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission standards if it ignores applicants with criminal records. “Those of you who are really in tune with Title VII and EEOC guidelines, you should already know you should be looking at people with criminal histories,” Mason said. “Having an across-the-board ban on hiring somebody who has a criminal record, for most employers, will run afoul with Title VII and the 2012 EEOC guidelines.
“But it’s not just Title VII and EEOC that can prohibit some employers from discriminating against the formerly incarcerated. Ban-the-box laws — laws that make it illegal for certain employers to ask applicants about criminal history on job applications — are growing in popularity. Employers that operate in jurisdictions without these restrictions may want to consider banning the box on their own accord, Mason said; “You can make a choice not to ask at that particular time and ask when the person comes into interview.
“How an employer decides to handle applicants with criminal backgrounds is a matter of compliance, but it also plays into talent strategy, Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation Executive Director Genevieve Martin said. When considering Dave’s Killer Bread employees who violated attendance, policy or behavior rules, the company found people with felony convictions performed slightly better than their counterparts, Martin said. And employees with felony convictions performed the same as those without in terms of turnover, she added.
As employers look to improve their practices for interviewing, investigating, hiring — or not hiring — and employing ex-prisoners, these six tips will set them up for success.
#1: Know when to ask about criminal history…