Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions

Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in the U.S.

If you are an employer in the United States, you must read this 52-page report published last week by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, updating a 25-year-old ruling that bars U.S. companies from automatically denying employment to people based on arrest or conviction records.  You can download such report, here.

Essentially, what this guidance does is to illustrate how information from criminal records can and cannot not be used in hiring decisions.

This guidance makes it very clear that an arrest on its own is not evidence of illegal conduct or grounds for exclusion in recruitment decisions.

The guidance makes it also very clear that if a job applicant does have a criminal conviction, the employer must look at the seriousness of the offense, the time that has lapsed since it was committed, and the relevance of such crime to the specific job opening at stake.

Computerized job applications that currently reject anyone who answers yes to the question “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” could be violating the law. Again, it’s worthwhile to download and read the full guidance, here.

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