Criminal Records, Employment and Employment Applications

Employers have become increasingly aware of the importance of knowing if an applicant has a criminal record. Employers have a legal duty to make reasonable inquiries about who they hire, and to provide a safe workplace. An employer who hires a person with a criminal record can be found liable for negligent hiring where the hiring decision results in harm, and it could have been avoided by a simple criminal record check. Checking criminal records demonstrates Due Diligence and is also an important preventative measure to protect against workplace violence. One of the most effective tools an employer has is the use of an application form in the hiring process. An application enables an employer to directly ask an applicant if they have a criminal record The advantage is that an employer can use a well worded application form to discourage applicants with something to hide, and to encourage applicants to be open and honest. Unfortunately, many employers use language in their applications that is either to narrow, too broad or too ambiguous. Each of these mistakes can put an employer in difficulty.

For details on these three mistakes and language for employment applications, see: