ESR Webinar on EEOC Criminal Record Guidance Provides Clients Pathway to Compliance with ESR Assured Compliance System

Attorney and safe hiring expert Lester Rosen, founder and CEO of nationwide background check firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR), will host a special “client only” webinar ‘Practical Steps Employers Can Take Today to Comply with the New EEOC Criminal Guidance’ on Thursday, May 31, 2012 from 11 AM to 12 PM Noon Pacific. The webinar will provide ESR clients a pathway to compliance with updated Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance on criminal records with templates and options through the proprietary ESR Assured ComplianceSM system to fulfill recommended EEOC best practices. ESR clients may register for the webinar is at: http://www.esrcheck.com/Newsletter/ESR-Speaks/Practical-Steps-Employers-Can-Take-Today-to-Comply-with-the-New-EEOC-Criminal-Guidance-139/.

In addition to the “client only” webinar on May 31, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) will present a second webinar open to the general public on the EEOC Guidance hosted by Rosen on Thursday, June 14, 2012 from 11 AM to 12 Noon PM Pacific. Non-ESR clients may register for the ESR public webinar on the EEOC Criminal Guidance at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/781044434. (ESR CLIENTS ONLY: Please register for the “client only” webinar at: http://www.esrcheck.com/Newsletter/ESR-Speaks/Practical-Steps-Employers-Can-Take-Today-to-Comply-with-the-New-EEOC-Criminal-Guidance-139/.) After registering for the webinars, registrants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinars. For those unable to attend the webinar, an on demand version of both the recorded “client only” webinar and recorded public webinar will be made available.

“There have been a number of webinars about the new EEOC Guidance, but the ESR webinar for clients on May 31 goes beyond just what the EEOC did and answers the question of what should an employer do now,” states Brad Landin, President and Chief Compliance Officer of Employment Screening Resources (ESR). “This information is for ESR clients only. Our public seminar will not include access to specific templates and options which include, for example, tools to analyze every job, as well as tools needed to analyze potentially hundreds of criminal offenses that may impact elements of various jobs.  Although non-ESR clients will not receive the ESR propriety tools, software, and templates to accomplish compliance, the public webinar will still provide an outline on concrete steps employers can take.”

On April 25, 2012, the EEOC, the agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, voted to update Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 available at http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm. In the webinars, Rosen will offer “real world” solutions on what employers should do now to remain in compliance with the EEOC while performing criminal background checks.  Topics covered in the webinars include:

  • Longstanding court decisions and existing EEOC Guidance documents;
  • Employment discrimination based on race and national origin, criminal records, and employer practices;
  • The differences between arrest and conviction records;
  • Disparate treatment and disparate impact analysis under Title VII;
  • Employer defenses the EEOC believes meet the “job related and consistent with business necessity” standard;
  • Individualized assessment of job applicants with criminal records;
  • Compliance with other federal laws and/or regulations that conflict with Title VII;
  • State and local laws or regulations preempted by Title VII;
  • EEOC Guidance best practices for employers; and
  • Links to EEOC Guidance materials and Q & A.

“ESR will also provide clients with options to deal with the EEOC recommendation that employers not ask about criminal matters in the application and that criminal questions when asked should be relevant to the job,” says Landin, a background screening industry veteran with decades of experience in matters of compliance. “Although compliance  with all the EEOC recommendation does require employers to review job descriptions and to make decisions about how criminal records impact certain types of  positions, once the program is put into place, the employer will have a valuable process in place to help select  the most qualified workers to bring success to  their business.”  

The updated EEOC Guidance suggests the following examples of “best practices” for employers who are considering criminal record information when making employment decisions

  • Eliminate policies or practices that exclude people from employment based on any criminal record.
  • Train managers, hiring officials, and decision makers about Title VII and its prohibition on employment discrimination.
  • Develop a narrowly tailored written policy and procedure for screening applicants and employees for criminal conduct that would: Identify essential job requirements and the actual circumstances under which the jobs are performed; Determine the specific offenses that may demonstrate unfitness for performing such jobs (and identify the criminal offenses based on all available evidence); Determine the duration of exclusions for criminal conduct based on all available evidence (including an individualized assessment); Record the justification for the policy and procedures, and; Note and keep a record of consultations and research considered in crafting the policy and procedures.
  • Train managers, hiring officials, and decision makers on how to implement the policy and procedures consistent with Title VII.
  • Limit inquiries to records for which exclusion would be job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity when asking questions about criminal records.
  • Keep information about applicants’ and employees’ criminal records confidential and only use it for the purpose for which it was intended.

“Even though the EEOC Guidance is only the opinion of a federal agency and does not have the force or effect of law, it is still critical for employers to carefully consider the EOCC position and to review their hiring practices in light of the updated Guidance,” adds Landin. “ESR has developed tools, software, templates, and materials through its ESR Assured ComplianceSM system that clients may use to comply with each of the EEOC best practice suggestions.”

Rosen, the author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ and a frequent speaker on background check issues as part of the ‘ESR Speaks’ training program, recently submitted a letter of public comment to the EEOC regarding the updated Enforcement Guidance. In the letter, Rosen – who spent nearly 20 years practicing criminal law before entering the background screening industry – wrote that while fully embraces “the EEOC objective of ensuring that ex-offenders are not the subject of unfair treatment,” he has also seen “the devastating results first hand when the wrong person is put in the wrong job.” Rosen believes the updated EEOC Guidance is “very troubling” and offers reasons in the letter why the EEOC should modify the updated Guidance.

The letter from Rosen to the EEOC on the updated Enforcement Guidance for Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is available at: http://www.esrcheck.com/Les-Rosen-Public-Comment-on-EEOC-Criminal-Guidance.php.  Rosen has also written a widely distributed article titled ‘Criminal Records and Getting Back into the Workforce: Six Critical Steps for Ex-offenders Trying to Get Back into the Workforce’ which is available at: http://www.esrcheck.com/articles/Criminal-Records-and-Getting-Back-into-the-Workforce.php.

For more information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and nationwide background screening provider accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – at http://www.esrcheck.com/ or call ESR Customer Service 415.898.0044 or 888.999.4474 or email customerservice@esrcheck.com.

About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM’– provides accurate and actionable information, empowering employers to make informed safe hiring decisions for the benefit for our clients, their employees, and the public. ESR literally wrote the book on background screening with “The Safe Hiring Manual” by Founder and CEO Lester Rosen. ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percentage of screening firms. By choosing an accredited screening firm like ESR, employers know they have selected an agency that meets the highest industry standards. For more information about Employment Screening Resources (ESR), visit http://www.esrcheck.com/ or call 415.898.0044 or 888.999.4474.

About ESR News:

The Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at tahearn@esrcheck.com.