The new EEOC changes, introduced in April, were written with the intention of opening up greater employment opportunities to applicants with criminal histories. But, as NPR pointed out earlier in the summer, employers are still using criminal background checks as a blanket hiring manager to exclude former criminals and other groups.
Examining each potential employees’ histories, while a time-consuming process, appears to be the only strategy to comply with the new measures. Yet, as a recent news story from WSPA.com in South Carolina points out, employers still aren’t getting the message. The WSPA piece highlights the fact that employers, in order to assist former criminals transition, must look beyond past convictions and histories and, instead, at job skills.
Blanket measures make the leap from criminal to productive citizen a far more tortuous process. Keeping former criminals out, solely because of past convictions showing in a screening, further exacerbates unemployment levels. A recruiter explained to the television station: “They’ll report they’ve been to 20-30 companies applying to positions but the fact that they have a background hinders them from being considered.”
What’s being done? As the piece points out, local EEOC judges and attorneys are addressing local employers about discriminatory hiring practices concerning background checks.
Background screenings are an integral part of the hiring process, adding additional depth to a candidate’s character and verifying all information listed on a resume and in an interview. On the other hand, not all background check companies are equal, and as a result, not all findings are accurate. As a lawsuit against HireRight Solutions, that resulted in a settlement, in August showed, background checks can even prevent solid job candidates from obtaining gainful employment if false information, be it from a different name, identity theft, or including expunged records, is listed in a report.
- EEOC Bans Discrimination Against Ex-Cons (blogs.lawyers.com)
- EEOC Enforcement Guidelines on Criminal Background Checks (pubcit.typepad.com)
- Supreme Court to Decide Employee Background Checks (blogs.lawyers.com)