What are the practical and legal considerations for employers that use criminal records and credit reports for applicant selection? This is the fifth and final installment of the Employment Screening Resources (ESR) Background Check Trends of 2011 Review features the number two trend, using criminal records, and the number one top ranked background check trend of the year, the use of job applicant credit reports. To view previous installments of the 2011 ESR Background Check Trends Review, visit Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
- Number 2 ESR Background Check Trend for 2011: Questions about Criminal Records of Job Applicants Become More Difficult for Employers to Ask.
- Number 1 ESR Background Check Trend for 2011: Controversy over Whether Employers Using Credit Reports for Employment Screening is Discriminatory Increases.
In an effort to bar discrimination against unemployed job seekers in New York state, Senate Bill 5316 (SB 5316) – proposed by Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (35th District- D/WF/I) – would make the unemployed a “protected class” in New York and make it illegal for employers to deny out-of-work applicants an interview or position solely because they are jobless. In addition, SB 5316 would prohibit employers from posting job advertisements that discourage the unemployed from applying to vacant positions, according to a press release on the Senator’s website. Continue reading
The number of Americans job seekers with criminal histories is larger than ever before and includes nearly 65 million people – over one in four U.S. adults – due to increased enforcement for nonviolent crimes like drug offenses and the release of more than 700,000 people from prisons each year, according to criminal justice experts quoted in a recent New York Times article ‘Internet Lets a Criminal Past Catch Up Quicker.’ As a result, U.S. employers will need to ensure compliance with federal, state, and even city guidelines concerning the use of criminal records when performing employment screening background checks. Continue reading
While only four U.S. states – Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and most recently Illinois – currently have laws limiting or prohibiting credit checks by employers on job applicants and employees, lawmakers in many U.S. states are currently proposing legislation restricting the use of credit reports for employment screening background checks.
In all, lawmakers in 18 U.S. states are considering bills that limit the use of credit report data for employment screening. These states include: California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Vermont. Continue reading
In a decision ending over three years of litigation, a federal court in Michigan recently sanctioned the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – the agency of the U.S. Government that enforces the federal employment discrimination laws – and ordered the EEOC to pay $751,942.48 for attorneys fees, expert fees, and court costs to a private employer, PeopleMark, Inc., a staffing company headquartered in Kentucky. Continue reading
According to a new study by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), since nearly 65 million people in the United States – more than one in four adults – are estimated to have criminal records, employers that use criminal background checks for employment to shut out job applicants with criminal records without considering how long ago the offense occurred, the nature of the offense, and whether the offense is job-related, have prevented millions of people from finding work and compromised the economy and public safety. Continue reading
A story in The Detroit News reports that members of the growing ‘Ban the Box’ Coalition, who persuaded the Detroit City Council to bar the question asking applicants about their criminal histories – and check a box if they have any convictions – from employment applications last year, have asked to extend the ban on inquiring about felony convictions on applications to city vendors and contractors. Continue reading
Should employers be allowed to ask job applicants for the logins and passwords to their social network site profiles such as Facebook as part of employment background checks? The answer to this question may involve the next frontier of online privacy, suggests the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), after the Maryland Department of Corrections (DOC) asked a job candidate for his Facebook login information as part of a background check. Continue reading
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) held a public meeting on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 to examine the practice by employers of considering only those currently employed for job vacancies and excluding currently unemployed persons from job applicant pools, including in job announcements, and also to hear from invited panelists on the potential impact on job seekers, according to an EEOC press release titled ‘Out of Work? Out of Luck.’ Continue reading
A Special Report on KTVU-TV Channel 2 News in San Francisco – ‘Ex-Felons Face Tough Road In Difficult Job Market’ – features a group pushing to “Ban the Box” that ex-offenders must check on job applications to disclose their criminal pasts to employers.
In the KTVU story, a truck driver – an ex-felon who served nine years in prison – believes the reason he cannot get an interview though he has applied for 80 jobs is because of the “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” question on job applications and claims that disclosing his felony conviction gives employers an excuse to ignore him. Continue reading