Posted on Nov 05, 2012

Small business owners and all employers need to know about the recent updates from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on its guidelines regarding criminal convictions in the hiring process. The new recommendations request that all employers perform individualized assessments of applicants or existing employees who have criminal convictions on their records.

What this means is that the EEOC wants all employers and HR departments to consider the following:

  • The nature of the crime
  • The time elapsed since it occurred
  • The nature of the job

If an applicant is considered ineligible based on the three criteria above, then the EEOC is asking employers to perform an individualized assessment.

The EEOC would like employers to consider if the person has had training, education, or other rehabilitation efforts after his or her conviction. Additionally, the EEOC encourages HR departments to consider whether the applicant performed the same type of work after his or her criminal conviction that he or she would perform in the new position. During this assessment, the EEOC is asking employers to check character references or past employment references before disqualifying the person from the position.

The EEOC warns that employers may be accused of violating an applicant’s civil rights if that employer does not perform an individualized assessment of an applicant or an existing employee with a criminal conviction.

Our Austin labor lawyers at the Posey Law Firm want Texas small business owners to be aware of this change. The EEOC warns all employers not to use arrest records in the hiring decision process, as arrest records do not necessarily result in charges.

These are significant changes, and only time will tell whether lawsuits will cause the courts to agree or disagree with EEOC’s guidelines.

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