Have you ever wondered why is it that critical to learn about the criminal history of your new employee?
Criminal history of your new employee can be a game-changer in the hiring process.
What Is a Criminal Record?
A criminal record, or criminal history, is documentation of a person’s interactions with law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, or local level. These records are public. In the United States, they contain information pertaining to a person’s arrests, criminal charges, and dispositions. Criminal records are generally maintained in the agency’s internal database and are used for
- Job candidates,
- Prospective tenants,
- Firearms purchasers,
- Dating partners,
- Individuals seeking to adopt, and
- Individuals seeking a security clearance.
Employers or others requesting the records must have the consent of the applicant or individual first. Many businesses are able to outsource searches of criminal records as well as other background information.
Why Are Criminal Background Checks Necessary?
Criminal background checks are necessary to verify that the information a job candidate has provided is correct and that the person checked will not pose any safety risks to the organization, its current employees, or its clients. This is particularly important for positions that require high security, or that work with vulnerable populations or sensitive data.
How Do Criminal Records Affect Workplace Fairness?
There is some controversy surrounding criminal records, including concerns that the information provided in background checks results in discrimination. Information regarding criminal offenses is not necessarily given proper context in the record, or names can be mismatched, which can result in a job applicant being unfairly rejected for consideration. Eligibility for the expungement of criminal records varies widely by jurisdiction.
In addition, hiring processes can have unintended barriers for people with criminal records who are seeking employment. Tracking systems often eliminate them from candidate pools early in the recruiting process.
Possible Consequences of Hiring a Person with a Criminal Record
It is important to note that though employers do have the right to see job candidates’ criminal records before hiring them, it is illegal to disqualify a candidate solely for having a criminal record—if the criminal history does not disclose activity related to the job. Additionally, many cities and states have campaigned to remove the request to disclose criminal history from job applications and only request screening later in the hiring process.
Hiring candidates with criminal records can be beneficial to a business. For example, many incarcerated citizens have access to education and job training, and life in prison can help them develop potentially valuable skills. Being open to hiring those with criminal histories can be facilitated by reaching out to local workforce development programs that can train and support former inmates.
However, it is also necessary to evaluate whether a job candidate is potentially dangerous. If a person with a criminal record is hired and poses a threat to other workers, clients, or customers, the employer will be considered at fault if someone is harmed.