EEOC Guidance on Criminal Records in Employment Decisions

With an estimate of 90% of large employers now using some form of criminal record background checks in the hiring process, the EEOC has issued some guidance under the Civil Rights Act of 1954. The guide emphasizes the need to avoid disparate treatment of applicants and on some of the ways employers should consider arrest and conviction records in employment decisions.

Some of the guidance is to: avoid a blanket policy on criminal convictions, consider each applicants personal situation, avoid consideration of arrest records.

Unfortunately, it appears that the guidance leaves employers in the uncomfortable position of having to try and decide which convicted criminals are actually a threat to the company, employers of others and which are benign. This makes the use of criminal background checks a far more complicated component of what appeared to be an cut and dry employment screening attribute.