Criminal Background Checks & Compliance: Is Your Hiring Policy Up to Date?

Across the country, 31 states and over 150 cities and counties have adopted what’s referred to as, “ban the box” rules that require employers consider a job candidate’s qualifications first rather than using arrest records as a step-one elimination tool, according to the National Employment Law Project.

The goal of “ban the box” is to give employment applicants a fair chance by removing the conviction history question from job applications and delaying background checks until later in the hiring process.

Violating the rules can be costly.

Target Agrees to $3.7 Million “Ban the Box” Settlement

In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that Target Corp. agreed to pay more than $3.7 million to resolve a civil-rights class-action complaint that alleged the retail giant’s policies regarding criminal-background checks were too broad and discriminated against African-American and Latino applicants. The company has also promised to overhaul job-screening guidelines for hourly workers. The settlement was in response to a civil suit filed by two individuals who had received conditional job offers from Target that were later revoked following the criminal-background screening process. The plaintiffs were represented by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the law firm Outten & Golden LLP.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Target will give priority hiring rights to African-Americans and Latinos who applied for jobs beginning in May 2006, but were denied employment based on pre-employment background checks. Applicants who have since retired or become ineligible to work because of medical issues or military obligations will be eligible to receive up to $1,000 in compensation. Target will also donate $600,000 to nonprofit organizations that provide aid to released prisoners.

The settlement estimated that 41,000 African-American and Latino applicants were denied employment from May 2008 to December 2016 due to the company’s criminal-history screening process. Target has said that it has now removed the criminal-history question from its employment application, but that it believes that criminal history checks are still vital for the safety of all its employees at the final stages of the hiring process.

Ensure You’re Doing Background Checks Properly

Criminal history background checks are an integral part of the hiring process and help protect companies and their employees. It’s essential, however, that employers ensure they’re following the law.

Contact DataCheck to inquire about professional pre-employment services that protect your workers and your business and avoid negligent hiring lawsuits while still complying with “ban the box” laws.