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No two people are exactly alike. They are made up of unique backgrounds and circumstances, and even specific life experiences.
And this could not be more true than when it comes to a criminal past.
Even when two people have been charged with the same crime, not all things are equal. Things like; were they arrested, but not convicted?, how long ago did the crime occur?, were there any relevant mitigating circumstances?
Understanding these differences and accepting them is important ~ especially when it comes to hiring.
This is where Individualized Assessments come into play.
In my view, these assessments are an inevitable extension of “Ban the Box”. They are an integral part of the movement to eliminate the immediate disqualification of ex-offenders from being hired.
Why Your Small Business Needs to Use Individual Assessments Now! Tweet This
Individualized Assessments are used when the background check on your applicant uncovers a criminal past that may keep you from hiring them. And when this happens, there are specific steps you must follow to be compliant with EEOC guidelines.
These steps involve informing your applicant, in writing, that they may not be hired due to their criminal history; giving them a chance to explain or mitigate your findings; and assessing the additional information provided before making a final hiring decision.
The challenge for anyone involved in the hiring process ~ from human resource departments, to hiring managers, to company owners ~ is to use what you find out during these assessments correctly and fairly.
In most cases, your hiring decision will rest on 2 factors ~ whether the mitigating information supplied by your applicant is relevant and whether their crimes have a direct bearing on their ability to do the job safely and effectively.
When your applicant is given the chance to explain the circumstances of their criminal history, or to refute the background check findings, they are essentially being given the opportunity to state their case.
Relevant information supplied by your applicant could include*:
- Any proof that the background check information is incorrect.
- Any mitigating facts surrounding the offense(s).
- Any efforts at rehabilitation, education, or training since the offense.
- Any employment or character references.
- Any evidence of successful employment history pre and post conviction.
If your applicant does not respond to your attempt to gain additional information on their criminal history, then you are within your rights to make your hiring decision without it.
It is also important that you consider whether the criminal history uncovered is relevant to the job and if using it to deny employment is a decision of “business necessity”.*
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Factors You Need to Consider Include:
- The nature and gravity of the offense.
- The time that has passed since the offense.
- Their age at the time of the offense.
- The nature of the job.
In addition, you should place your emphasis on offenses for which your applicant was convicted, not just arrested.
The EEOC guidelines state the importance of considering convictions, not arrests, in your hiring decisions. In their estimation, arrests do not necessarily indicate guilt. Convictions, on the other hand, can be treated as evidence of guilt.
Find out more about the importance of using Convictions, not Arrests, in your Hiring decisions, Here!
However, even when only considering convictions, the EEOC still requires Individualized Assessments.
This is why it is so important that you have sound policies in place to cover the use of Individualized Assessments in your hiring practices. Doing this well in advance of placing your “Help Wanted” sign is key.
And any time you can put hiring policies in place to keep your company from the notice of the EEOC, it is a good thing!
You can find additional tips to help you stay under the EEOC’s radar Here!
What You Should Do:
- Be Sure to Draft and Finalize Steps You will Take During Individualized Assessments
- Be Sure all the Steps Comply with EEOC and all State/Local Guidelines
- Be Sure any Decisions to Disqualify an Applicant from Employment is Reasonable and Specific to the Job
- Be Sure to Notify the Applicant, in Writing, of all Decisions Made Regarding the Background Check & Your Hiring Decisions
- Be Sure to Keep Detailed Records of all Steps Taken
Following these will ensure that You are complying with all aspects of the Individualized Assessment and document the steps taken during your decision-making process.
Individual Assessments ~ Fair to Your Small Business & Your Applicants! “Tweet This”
I believe that doing Individualized Assessments is a good thing.
They keep a strong balance between the rights of Your Company to hire safe and qualified employees, and the chance for ex-offenders to gain employment.
The process brings common sense and second chances into the hiring equation ~ without resulting in any excessive burdens on Your Company or Your Applicant!
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Remember ~ No two life stories are exactly alike. People are more than what is written on paper and they can grow and change.
Bringing that view into your Hiring process makes sense. And this is where Individualized Assessments come in!
Are You Ready to Use them in Your Small Business?
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