Criminal Records


VA Hiring of Ex-Offenders Shows “Catch 22” Situation Employers Face with Use of Criminal Records

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) asserts that the many ex-offenders with criminal records they have hired “fresh out of prison” – some to work as Human Resources (HR) officials who assist in screening job applicants – all have been “properly vetted,” according to a report from The Daily Caller News Foundation.

VA Hiring Ex-Offenders

The Daily Caller reports one of the ex-offenders hired by the VA – an Air Force captain named John C. Perrys who served time in prison for breaking into the home of a judge, attacking his daughter, and cutting her car brakes – has a job “advising employees and applicants for employment,” according to his own website.

Perrys “was properly vetted by VA’s Human Resource Office and Security Investigations,” VA spokesman James Hutton told The Daily Caller. “Since the time of his employment, Perrys has maintained an exemplary employment record and as such has progressed into roles with increasing responsibility.”

The VA has sex offenders working throughout the VA system across the nation, has kept a child molester on its payroll, has re-hired a killer after he served a prison term, and “also has repeatedly re-hired people who have been fired for cause by other parts of the VA,” The Daily Caller also reports.

“This type of situation demonstrates the ‘Catch 22’ situation for employers,” explains Attorney Lester S. Rosen, the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), a leading global background check provider headquartered in the San Francisco, California area.

“On one hand, everyone recognizes there is a need to provide a second chance and ex-offenders are an underutilized talent pool that can help many employers. Recidivism is reduced when an ex-offender obtains employment and there are studies to suggest that they make great workers,” Rosen said.

“On the other hand, an event like this reminds employers that they still need to exercise due diligence in hiring and to manage risk,” warned Rosen, the author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual,’ a guide for screening. “The bottom line is that there should be a job for everyone, but not everyone is qualified for every job.”

Rosen will speak about the use of criminal records in hiring at an event hosted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) – the world’s largest HR professional society representing 300,000 members in more than 165 countries – called the SHRM 2019 Talent Conference & Exposition.

Rosen will present a session entitled  “The Use of Criminal Records in Hiring: Land Mines and Opportunities for Employers” on Monday, April 8, 2019, from 1:15 PM to 2:15 PM Central Time at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center at 2800 Opryland Drive in Nashville, Tennessee.

In the one hour session, Rosen will explain how HR professionals need to understand the complexities involved in using criminal records, such the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Guidance on Criminal Records, “Ban the Box” laws, accuracy and discrimination issues, and state laws.

Ex-offenders face many hurdles after leaving prison that include finding a job. A July 2018 report entitled “Out of Prison & Out of Work” calculated the ex-offender unemployment rate to be 27 percent, which surpassed the 25 percent unemployment rate in America during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

But are ex-offenders good workers? Or as good as non-offenders without criminal records? A study released in May 2017 entitled ‘Criminal Background and Job Performance’ found that “individuals with criminal records have a much longer tenure and are less likely to quit their jobs voluntarily than other workers.”

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) offers a complimentary whitepaper entitled “Ten Critical Steps for Ex-Offenders to Get Back into the Workforce” to help job applicants with conviction records find employment and escape their own “Catch 22” situation when it comes to revealing their criminal past.

With record low unemployment, employers are more willing to hire ex-offenders with the necessary skills to make sure they are not eliminating job applicants with past criminal records who are qualified to work. The increased hiring of ex-offenders is one of the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2019.

ESR Offers Resources for Ex-Offenders Looking for Work

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – provides ex-offender resources to help the millions of job seekers with criminal records reenter the workforce. To learn more, please visit

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

© 2019 Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – Making copies or using of any part of the ESR News Blog or ESR website for any purpose other than your own personal use is prohibited unless written authorization is first obtained from ESR.


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