A group of national civil and workers’ rights organizations has released a new report titled ‘Best Practice Standards: The Proper Use of Criminal Records in Hiring’ that addresses the use of criminal records of job applicants by employers during employment background checks. The organizations preparing the report include the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the National H.I.R.E. Network, and the National Workrights Institute. Background screening industry consultants who helped to develop the Best Practice standards include Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), as well as Fred Giles and James Owens of CARCO Group, Inc. The full report is available at http://www.esrcheck.com/file/Best-Practice-Standards-Criminal-Records.pdf.
According to the new report: “Responsible hiring practices should incorporate the recommendations made by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency that enforces federal employment discrimination laws, in its 2012 ‘Enforcement Guidance on the Use of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.’ The Best Practice Standards presented here set out concrete, practical procedures that will help employers make hiring decisions that: Comply with the EEOC Guidance and limit liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and state and local anti-discrimination laws; Comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); and Minimize the risk of liability from hiring an unfit employee.”
The report includes the following 15 Best Practice Standards that “enable employers to protect their interests and the interests of those they serve, without unduly burdening applicants for past mistakes”:
- 1. CONSIDER ONLY CONVICTIONS AND PENDING PROSECUTIONS
- 2. CONSIDER ONLY CONVICTIONS THAT ARE RELEVANT TO THE JOB IN QUESTION
- 3. CONSIDER ONLY CONVICTIONS RECENT ENOUGH TO INDICATE SIGNIFICANT RISK
- 4. DO NOT ASK ABOUT CRIMINAL RECORDS ON APPLICATION FORMS
- 5. USE A QUALIFIED CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCY (CRA) TO CONDUCT RECORD CHECKS
- 6. THE CRA SHOULD REPORT ONLY CONVICTIONS THAT ARE RELEVANT AND RECENT
- 7. REPORT CONVICTIONS ONLY WHEN FULL NAME AND ONE OTHER IDENTIFIER MATCH
- 8. CONFIRM ALL INFORMATION FROM ONLINE DATABASES WITH ORIGINAL SOURCE
- 9. GET CURRENT DISPOSITION OF ALL RELEVANT INFORMATION
- 10. PROVIDE APPLICANT THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHALLENGE THE CRA’S REPORT
- 11. ALL CHARGES RELATED TO A SINGLE INCIDENT SHOULD BE REPORTED AS A SINGLE ENTRY
- 12. CONSIDER EVIDENCE OF REHABILITATION
- 13. MINIMIZE CONFLICT OF INTEREST BY DECISION MAKERS
- 14. TRAIN HUMAN RESOURCES STAFF
- 15. HAVE A DIVERSITY PROGRAM
A more detailed description of each of the 15 Best Practice Standards – which apply to both employers and Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) – is included in the report. The Standards are also divided into the following seven sections:
- The first section addresses factors employers should take into account as recommended in the EEOC Guidance.
- The second section outlines criteria for selecting a CRA to perform criminal records checks.
- The third section lays out practical steps employers should take regarding criminal history record checks when recruiting applicants and selecting candidates best qualified for interviews.
- The fourth section provides recommendations for interviewers to follow if a candidate reports a conviction record.
- The fifth section includes recommendations for best ways to comply with the FCRA during criminal background checks.
- The sixth section discusses procedures for a final hiring decision if the interviewer believes an applicant with a prior conviction is the best candidate.
- The seventh section gives recommendations on how human resources can help support the consistent use of these Best Practice Standards.
The report lists the following biographies of contributors from the sponsoring organization staff:
- Roberta Meyers has served as Director of the Legal Action Center’s National H.I.R.E. Network project since 2005. Prior to her appointment as director, she held policy and direct service positions at the Legal Action Center for nearly 15 years. She has worked with policy makers and advocates around the country to identify public policy priorities that directly affect employment opportunities for people with criminal records and helped develop appropriate strategies to strengthen existing legislation or create model policies in individual states. She has trained hundreds of workforce development and corrections staff on employment strategies that best serve job seekers with criminal histories. She has authored guidebooks and policy briefs on criminal record policies that impact employment and has been called to testify before Congress, federal administrative agencies, and state legislators.
- Ray P. McClain has served as Director of the Employment Discrimination Project for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law since 2010. In that position he leads the Committee’s efforts to combat employment discrimination through litigation, public education, and policy advocacy. For over 30 years prior to joining the Lawyers’ Committee, he practiced law in South Carolina in the areas of civil rights, employment, and labor law, and complex federal litigation; in 1978 and again in 1998 he successfully argued cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. He was a member of the Advisory Board that established standards for certification of Employment and Labor Law specialists in the 1980s and was certified as a specialist in Employment and Labor Law in South Carolina for 20 years.
- Lewis Maltby is president of the National Workrights Institute (NWI). He has testified before Congress on the use of criminal records in employment and served on advisory taskforces to the United States Department of Justice and SEARCH (the association of state criminal record repositories). Prior to founding NWI, Mr. Maltby was Director of Employment Rights for the ACLU. Working in the private sector for a number of years, he served as Executive Vice President/General Counsel of Drexelbrook Controls, Inc., where his responsibilities included Human Resources.
The report also lists the biographies of consultants from the background screening industry:
- Attorney Lester S. Rosen is Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), a nationwide background check company located in California. ESR is an accredited screening firm under the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) accreditation program. He is the author of both “The Safe Hiring Manual – The Complete Guide to Employment Screening Background Checks for Employers, Recruiters, and Jobseekers” (Facts on Demand Press, October 2012), a comprehensive book on employment screening, and “The Safe Hiring Audit” (2008). Mr. Rosen was the chair of the steering committee that founded the NAPBS®, a professional trade organization for the screening industry, and served as one of the first co-chairs in 2004. He is a frequent presenter nationwide on pre-employment screening and safe hiring issues.
- Frederick G. Giles is Senior Vice President of CARCO’s Research Division. CARCO Group, Inc. is a nationwide background check company with offices located throughout the United States and is an accredited screening firm under the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) accreditation program. Mr. Giles has more than 30 years of experience in loss prevention public record retrieval, employment screening, corporate asset protection, and investigations. Mr. Giles is a licensed private investigator and a Certified Protection Professional with ASIS International. He is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management and is also a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®), where he currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors.
- James C. Owens is Chief Executive Officer and President of CARCO Group, Inc., both positions he has held since 2008. He has over 23 years of operations and information technology experience. He originally joined CARCO as the Chief Information and Technology Officer (CITO). As CITO and head of the background screening division, he led the modernization of CARCO’s technology and operations. Through that modernization CARCO implemented industry-leading approaches to the performance of high-volume background checks and enhanced the high quality level of CARCO’s services. Prior to entering the private sector, Mr. Owens was an officer in the U.S. Submarine Service, where he served as Information Systems Department Head for the U.S. Navy Submarine Training Facility (SUBTRAFAC) in Norfolk, VA. During his Navy service he was certified in the supervision, maintenance, and operation of a submarine nuclear power plant.
The report ‘Best Practice Standards: The Proper Use of Criminal Records in Hiring’ is available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/142787063/Best-Practices-Standards-The-Proper-Use-of-Criminal-Records-in-Hiring.
About Employment Screening Resources® (ESR):
Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more about ESR, visit http://www.esrcheck.com or call toll free 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 [email protected]. To subscribe to the ESR News Blog Feed, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/feed/. To subscribe to the complimentary ESRcheck Report monthly newsletter, please visit http://www.esrcheck.com/Newsletter/.