Showing posts with label criminal background checks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label criminal background checks. Show all posts

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Why You Need to Know How a “Certificate of Relief” will Help You Hire more Safely ~ even if Your New Hire has a Record!

Learn How a Certificate of Relief will Help You Safely Hire Ex-Offenders
Would You Hire Someone with a 
Criminal Record?

That is a question that plagues both employers and job applicants who have any kind of criminal history.

When it comes to employers, many are understandably wary of hiring applicants with a criminal record. They worry that they could cause problems for their company, their other employees, and their customers. They think that by hiring an ex-offender they are putting themselves and others at risk. 

Companies also fear that hiring someone who already has a criminal history makes them more vulnerable to negligent hiring lawsuits. Employers can be found liable if, while during the course of business, one of their employees commits a criminal offense or acts in any way that could cause harm to someone else. 

Ex-offenders also have their own set of worries and fears. They know that even after they have completed their sentences, they face a prejudice that is hard to overcome. And that prejudice is crystal clear when it comes to getting hired.

However, helping those with a criminal history get a job is not only important for them, it is good for our society as a whole. 

When criminals are released from jail or finish a period of probation, they are, for the first time in awhile, on their own. Many make vows to themselves that things are going to be different. They dream of being a self-reliant, responsible adult.

But the problem then becomes, how can they make that happen?

It all comes down to this ~ Find a Job!

Getting hired is the key! It is a huge step for any ex-offender when it comes time to start over. Being employed not only helps them financially, it also gives ex-offenders a sense of normalcy and, most importantly, pride.

Without that step up, many will re-offend and can even end up worse than before.

This is a problem not just for them, but for all of us ~ and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and many states are starting to take notice.

One of the latest ways that some states are helping ex-offenders get a new start is by granting them a “Certificate of Relief”.

A “Certificate of Relief” will Help You Hire Ex-Offenders with Less Risk! “Tweet This”

A “Certificate of Relief” is a statement by the court that an ex-offender has met a certain pre-defined set of circumstances and conditions concerning their past conviction(s). This certificate is designed to help reduce the risk to employers who hire ex-offenders.

But this certification is not given to everyone. While specific criteria may vary state to state, common conditions that ex-offenders must meet to be granted a “Certificate of Relief” are:
  • A limited number of felonies and/or misdemeanors.
  • A specific period of time has passed since the completion of their sentence (may be 12 months or more) including any probation or parole assigned.
  • They must have completed all terms of their sentence(s) including probation, substance abuse or anger management treatment.
  • They have not violated or failed to comply with any term of their criminal sentence(s). 
  • They have no criminal charge(s) pending.
  • They must be engaged in, or seeking, lawful employment, an education, training, or registered in other rehabilitative programs or have a lawful source of support.
  • Belief of the court that granting the “Certificate of Relief” would not put the safety or welfare of the public or any individual at unreasonable risk.

But perhaps the most important result of a “Certificate of Relief”, at least to employers, is that it helps protect them from liability when it comes to most negligent hiring claims. 

Considering a "Certificate of Relief", along with other background check information, to determine employment helps prove that they have done their due diligence and vetted that employee to make the safest hire possible.

In addition to the “Certificate of Relief”, many other states are revamping their expungement procedures, especially when it comes to first-time, non-violent, offenders.

These states are passing legislation that will expand the ability of ex-offenders to have their record expunged.  

In many cases, it will be is as if their conviction never existed. A job applicant would be then be able to legally state that they have never been convicted of a crime.

Many believe it is a way to give an ex-offender a second chance. Others feel it is simply a way for those convicted of a crime to hide their past”.

Find out more about the pros and cons of expungement in “Expunging Criminal Records ~ What You Need to Know”!

I believe that a “Certificate of Relief” is of more value to an employer than an expungement.

A “Certificate of Relief” still reveals an applicant’s criminal history and it offers proof that the ex-offender has met a specific set of requirements and has taken steps to move beyond their past. It also offers some protection for employers.

An expungement, however, tries to “hide” a criminal history entirely from employers, while still making them vulnerable to potential negligent hiring lawsuits.

This is unfair and results in more employers being wary to hire ex-offenders at all.

No hiring decision should ever be made blindly. 

It is possible to hire an ex-offender and to do so safely and with eyes wide open.

The key is to never skip the background check. Be sure to do background checks on each and every new hire, and use re-screening and workplace observation post-hire!

Background checks play an essential role in any businesses’ hiring practices. They give you the information you need to make an informed and safe employment decision.

No matter what current or future employment laws and regulations dictate, it ultimately comes down to this ~ whether we choose to believe in second chances.

People cannot only be defined by their pasts. Our greatest ability as human beings is being able to learn from our mistakes. We need to recognize this.

We as employers and Background Check companies need to move past the notion that “Once a Criminal, Always a Criminal”.   

People can change.  And giving them another chance can help make that change more permanent”, excerpt from “Once a Criminal, Always a Criminal ~ Why We Need to Believe in Second Chances”!

Giving those with a criminal past a second chance, while protecting the interest of employers, is possible. And if more states consider offering a “Certificate of Relief” to qualified ex-offenders, we are closer than ever to making that a reality.

Authored by    

Have Questions about Your Hiring Process or Need Help Screening Your New Hires? 
Contact Us! We can Help!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

What We Need to Do to Help Our Children Get Ready for College, the Job Market, and Background Checks

Are Your Children prepared for a College or Employment Background Check?

We were recently asked by Phrantceena Halres of the Coach Tate Foundation to discuss this topic on their podcast “Empowered Family Talk ~ Background Checks, Private Investigations, & Child Safety, What You Must Know!”.

The goal was to share with families what they need to know to help prepare their children for passing a background check in today’s world.

The first, and most important, thing to realize is that Background Checks are a Reality!

They are used to make employment decisions. They help determine whether you are eligible to rent an apartment, condo, or home. And background checks are even being used by colleges and universities as a criteria for acceptance!

That is why it makes sense to know as much as possible about how you can help prepare your children for background checks now.

This preparation needs to begin early ~ long before our children are even thinking about picking a school or getting a job or apartment. And the key to this preparation is knowing exactly what will be checked, why it is checked, and what can be found during your background check.

One Important thing You Should Know ~ Background checks are used to determine trustworthiness and reliability. 

Employers see them as a concrete way to verify the information you list on your application or resume. The thought is that if you lie, there is a good reason to question your honesty overall!

Tips to Help You Prepare Your Child for a Background Check ~ and Why You Should! “Tweet This”

Because a background check is most likely in your child’s future, it also helps to know what those searches usually entail and “your takeaway” concerning each!

The Most Common Elements of a Background Check are:

Criminal Records ~ This can encompass local, county, state, and federal court records. It usually includes the courts anywhere the subject has lived and/or worked in the past 7 to 10 years.

Your Takeaway ~
Be clear, having a criminal record makes getting into a good school or landing a good job harder than it has to be. You and your child must realize that having a criminal record comes with consequences. And remember ~ drug charges and DUIs are criminal offenses.

Education Verification - This includes academic degrees / records, professional licenses or certifications, honors and awards. This information can be used by educational institutions to grant acceptance. It is also used by employers to verify the degree or graduation stated on an application or resume.

Your Takeaway
Verifying that you have the degree or certification you claim is vital. Employers want to make sure you have the skills necessary to do the job. They also use it as a tool to verify that you are honest on your resume. 
Tip - When you graduate, make sure all your fees are paid or many institutions will not verify your degree when a potential employer calls!

Employment Verification - This is used to verify your dates and title of each employment listed on your resume.

Your Takeaway ~
Before your child applies for a job, make sure they know their start and end dates for any past employments listed, along with their exact job title. Make sure your resume matches this information exactly, especially since your potential employer is checking for honesty and attention to detail. It is also important to know exactly what previous employers / past supervisors will release to your potential new employer.

Reference Verification - This can include both provided and developed references.

Your Takeaway
Make sure you know exactly what they will say. Contact them in advance to let them know you listed them as a reference and to make sure they are willing to help. Be sure to get the correct spelling of their name, their job title, and a good contact number and email. The easier you make it to verify these references, the more quickly your background check will get completed.

Tips to Help Prepare Your Child for a Background Check
Driving Records - Jobs in transportation and those that use company cars will check a driving record.

Your Takeaway
Employers are looking for a valid driver’s license and a pattern or excessive violations or revocations of driving privileges. Having any of these may be seen as a disregard for the law and paints you in a bad light.

Credit Checks - Rental agents use this to determine if you can afford the apartment and that you have a history of paying your bills on time.

Your Takeaway
Help your child establish good credit early. Make sure they have a checking and savings account, a credit card, and that any bills are paid on time.

Civil Court Checks - Checks are done in county and federal courts to look for lawsuits and for any landlord/tenant disputes resulting in evictions.

Your Takeaway
Parents, be sure to emphasize the responsibilities your child has when they are a renter. Make sure they understand the importance of paying the rent on time, keeping the apartment neat and clean, and treating the property with care. It is also important that they be a good neighbor and keep the noise down!
Drug and Alcohol testing - There are employers who drug test to hire and even those who randomly test existing employees.

Your Takeaway
Your child’s best bet is to be drug free. Employers have the right to expect a drug free and safe workplace, so it is important to be able to cleanly pass any drug test they require.

Social Media checks - This type of check is becoming a more common part of many background checks. Companies and colleges will search online for both positive and negative posts that could have an impact on their admittance or employment decisions.

Your Takeaway
You and your child should be aware that their social media posts will have an impact on how they are perceived. They can result in them being seen in either a positive or a negative light. Examples of posts that will be viewed as positive are ones that feature charity work, love of travel, participation in sports, clubs, and activities. Negative posts include posts that show excessive partying, illegal behavior, hate posts, violent posts, and negative posts on past employers.

Students ~ Be careful what you post. Does it show you in the best light? is it something you want your parents or grandparent to see? If not, don’t post!

Parents ~ Monitor your child’s online activities. Set a good example yourself by using your social media sites in a responsible way.

Tips - You have rights when it comes to social media checks. For example, you should never be asked to give up a password or “friend” an admitting agent or employer to give them increased access to your sites. They are entitled to public information only. And once something is posted, it is virtually impossible to delete. Even “friend only” privacy settings only go so far.

Background Checks are a reality in the world we live in, so your best bet is to understand this and make sure you and your child are prepared!

By understanding what a background check entails, and what you and your child can do to get ready for it, you are ahead of the game.

And if you really want to ease the anxiety that usually accompanies the idea of a background check, then do a background check on your child first!

Check the things that a potential employer or college may check. Know exactly what information will be found and whether that information is accurate. Knowing this will give you a chance to correct misinformation and be ready to mitigate any negative information that may be found!

The more you know and the better prepared you are, the less nervous you, and your child, will be about the background check. And a good background check company can help you do it right!

Contact Us to answer your questions or for more information!

Parents, it is important to do what you can to help make sure your children don’t get passed over for the job, apartment, or college they want. And being ready, well in advance, for the inevitable background check is the key! Good Luck!

Authored by     

Monday, April 3, 2017

Pending Charges ~ Why You Need to Consider them Before Hiring

Imagine this… have found someone you think will be a perfect fit for your company and the job. They have all the right qualifications and they interviewed well. And while you have no reason to think you will find anything negative, it is time to start the background check process to make sure.

That is when it happens. 
While checking the courts for a 
criminal history, you find a case. 
But instead of it being closed, 
it is an active case. 
There is no disposition. No sentence. 
What do you do?

This exact scenario has happened to me many times, and it may have even happened to you. 

How Should You Treat Pending Cases found in Your Background Check? “Tweet This” 

Whether you are an employer, or a background check company, it is important that you have a plan in place to deal with this situation.

When it comes to criminal history, the usual best practice is to consider convictions, not arrests, when making your employment decision. Arrests do not determine guilt, so it makes sense they should not be part of the hiring equation.

When you have evidence of a conviction (especially those verified through a quality background check company), you know the record is that of the applicant and you know the outcome of the case. Only then can you make a truly fair and informed determination of the applicant’s suitability for the job”, excerpt from “Why Checking an Applicant’s Criminal Past Should be About Convictions, Not Arrests!”.

But with a pending or active case, there is no such determination of guilt.

So what is an employer or 
background check company to do?

This is where a well thought out plan of action is invaluable.

I believe in the employer’s right to know. That is why my practice is to include pending and active cases in my background check reports.   

Despite there not being a final decision, 
pending charges can impact the employer 
(my client), their company, and 
their other employees.

For example, there is likely to be one or more scheduled dates where your applicant will have to appear in court. If hired, they would need to take this time off.

If your new hire is simply found not guilty, or the charges are dropped or withdrawn, time off for court may be as far as it goes.

However, there is also the possibility they will be found guilty. What then? 

If they are sentenced to jail time, you will have to start the entire hiring process all over ~ wasting the time and money you spent in vetting and training your new hire. 

Even if granted probation, or a sentence requiring county or state sponsored rehabilitation programs, your hire will most likely miss work to fulfill this part of their sentence. This is also a drain on your finances and on the other employees who must cover your absent employee’s work.

However, if you as an employer 
were unaware of the pending case, 
you would have hired blind 
to these possibilities. 
That is why reporting pending and active cases is so important.

But what if, despite knowing of these open charges, you still want to hire this applicant?

Then hiring them on a conditional basis may be a good idea. Your employee could then be placed on a probationary status pending the final outcome of the case.

You will also have the opportunity to "pre-plan" how you will handle possible absences due to their court case obligations.

On the positive side, you will also be giving someone with a troubled past a second chance. Face it, people make mistakes. Being solely defined by those mistakes, however, serves no one..

That is why it is important to 
balance cautiousness with fairness. 

Employers must continue screening their potential hires to protect themselves, their company, and their employees. But if a criminal past is found, that is when we have the opportunity to make a difference.

Find out more about safely hiring ex-offenders in, “Once a Criminal, Always a Criminal ~ Why We Need to Believe in Second Chances”.

The key here is going in with your eyes wide open and fully aware of the potential outcomes when the case is finally decided.

The bottom line ~ 
Employers have every right to know 
all the relevant information there is to know about their applicants before they hire
And that includes any pending or active cases. Hiring without this knowledge 
can put you at a disadvantage 
and cost you time and money in the long run.

Once again, Knowledge is Power!

Please Help Spread the Word and 
Share this Article on Your Favorite Social Sites!

Authored by  

and discover how API can protect 
You and Your Company!

Learn more by visiting our 
Security Consulting Services pages!

Want to learn more about the 
latest news and issues about Small Business? Subscribe Now
You will get one new article each week dedicated to helping you find business success!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Job Seekers’ Top 5 Frequently Asked Background Check Questions

Authored by Kimberly Kline, API
Nothing gives job seekers pause 
more than the 
employment background check. 

And no wonder! Looking for a job is a nerve wracking and anxious time ~ and the thought of an employer scrutinizing you and your past just adds to the stress.

Even if you have nothing to hide, you can feel anxiety about the whole background check process.

You might spend time wondering “What is an employer looking for?” and “What will they discover?”. 

You are not alone!
Many job seekers have the same questions when it comes to employment screening.    

By focusing on 5 of those most frequently asked, I hope to provide the answers you need and help alleviate some of the stress that can drive you crazy while you search for your dream job.

Feeling Job Search Stress? Your Background Check FAQ Answered!  “Tweet This”

Created by Kimberly Kline, API

Job Seekers’ Top 5 
Background Check Questions
  • How far back do employment background checks go?
It is standard for most employers to go back 7 - 10 years when it comes to background checks. This time frame is recommended by FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Administration) and EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) guidelines. Compliant employers and background check companies will follow this time frame.  

This can vary depending on the industry. Some companies, by law, are required to search for your entire past criminal and work history. Examples of this are jobs in finance, working with children, the elderly, or disabled, and in the transportation industry.

While these guidelines do dictate how far back to go in searching for your criminal offenses, there are none when it comes to past employments, education, etc. An employer is free to go back as far as they deem necessary. 
  • What Shows Up on a Background Check?
This depends upon the scope of the background check requested. Many times the extent of the screening depends upon the position being filled. For example, an entry level job usually requires a more basic background check than one for a management or supervisory position.

However, when most job seekers ask this question, they are really thinking about the criminal check.  The 7 -10 year rule applies here too (with the exception of the regulated industries). This means that criminal offenses beyond that parameter are not supposed to be considered ~ whether they “show up” or not.

If the background check is done internally, HR should follow this guideline. If it is outsourced to a reputable screening company, then only those offenses that fall within the time parameters should be reported.  

Court records are most often checked at the county and state level. Federal court records may also be requested.  

During a criminal check, cases will be found that resulted in both findings of not guilty and those where you were convicted. Even cases that were dismissed or are currently active (with no disposition) are uncovered. Traffic cases are rarely considered (unless a company car or driving is part of the job description).

Beyond the criminal check, the following information will be discovered if requested by the employer:

Education ~ dates of graduation and degree earned are most common.  Class rank or GPA (QPA) are not usually requested.

Employments ~ dates (start to end) and title of your most recent position are checked. Your reason for leaving is also commonly asked.

When it comes to wondering what will “show up” during the background check, there are steps you can take to help alleviate your concerns.

Making sure your resume is “background check ready” is a great way to start. Verifying that all the information listed is true and accurate is key.
Discover tips on how to get your resume background check proof here!

Getting a background check on yourself before you even apply for a job is also a smart move. Knowing in advance that nothing will be uncovered that could keep you from getting the job simply makes sense.

  • What kind of Criminal Record will keep me from getting the job?
No matter what kind of criminal history information may be uncovered during the background check, EEOC guidelines require most employers to only consider convictions when making their employment decision.

For many employers, felony convictions are automatic red flags. Also of concern is any past criminal activity that may jeopardize the safety of their customers, employees, and their assets.

Convictions for violent offenses are especially problematic. But, depending on the job, guilty verdicts for crimes like embezzlement, drug trafficking, or theft may also effect whether you get the job. 

Even if a record is found, you have rights.There are definitive steps that an employer must take if they are considering not hiring you because of your criminal history.  These include notifying you (in writing) if adverse information was found in your background check and giving you the chance to deny or mitigate those findings.

Learn more about your rights here!

It is important to note that not all employers will automatically eliminate you from consideration if you have a criminal record. EEOC guidelines actually recommend that employers only take into account offenses that directly pertain to the job.

But if you do have a criminal past, your best defense is to be ready to plead your case. Own your criminal past, share any circumstances that lead to your conviction, and show what you have done since then to turn your life around.
  • Will an employer find out I lied about…..
Whether you have lied about your education, past employments, or anything else listed on your resume, the answer is YES!!!!

More and more employers are doing employment background checks. And be assured, these screeners know what they are doing. Your lies will be found out.

When that happens, you lose.  

According to employers, resume lies can cost you the job!  

The most common resume lies:
Skills & Responsibilities
Degree / Diploma
Dates of Employment
Job Title
Past Employers

Even if the employer initially decides to hire you anyway, there will always be the lingering question about your honesty. This can effect future promotions or raises.

Read more about what happens when your resume lies are discovered in “Employers Share ~ Lie on Your Resume and You Lose!”.

  • How long is Marijuana detectable with a drug test?
With an increasing number of states legalizing the use of medical marijuana, and some extending that to recreational use, job seekers are justifiably interested in how that will translate to drug tests and employment.

It is important to know that employers still have the right to require a “drug free” workplace. This includes using drug tests to deny employment or fire anyone that is impaired.

To that end, many employers require pre-employment drug tests. And many others also practice random drug tests of current employees.

The length of time that marijuana will stay in your system can vary. It depends on the kind of test used, how long since you last used, how often you use, and your own body.

The 3 most commonly used workplace drug tests & their average detection times are:
Urine Test (most common)
Single Use: up to 5 days
Moderate Use (4 times / week): up to 7 days
Daily Use:  up to 15 days
Long Term Use:  up to 30 days

Blood test:
Low to moderate use:  up to 3 days
Frequent to Long Term use:  approximately 2 weeks

Hair Follicle test:
Single use - doubtful it will show up
Regular use (more than once a week) to More frequent use - weeks to months

Another available test, the Saliva test, is not yet widely used. However, it is able to detect current use, even if you have only used marijuana for a day or two.

Marijuana use becomes slightly more problematic when approved for medical use. Employers cannot discriminate against employees who test positive for marijuana when it’s prescribed by a physician. However, employers in many states are still allowed to reprimand employees who are impaired on the job, even if it is due to medically prescribed marijuana.

It is also important to remember that marijuana use is still illegal under federal law. Any employer that receives federal funding, or is subject to federal regulations, is required to consider marijuana a prohibited substance.

Find out more about Marijuana and the Workplace in “Marijuana, Employers, and Drug Testing ~ What You Need to Know”.

Knowing what questions job seekers have about background checks is valuable for employers too.  

It gives them the opportunity to put their applicants at ease and make the hiring process much less stressful. It also allows an employer to establish an open and honest channel of communication with their potential new hires from the start.

Learn more in “Ready to Hire?  What Your Applicant Needs to Know”!

Knowing the answers to 
these top 5 FAQ 
employment background check questions 
will help you start your job search 
with your eyes wide open.  
But, most importantly, 
by following these tips I have shared, 
you will be fully prepared to sail smoothly 
through the entire process. 

Do You have a question about 
Hiring or Background Checks 
that was not covered?  
Or do you need more information? 
 Contact Us Now!  API can help!

Please Pay it Forward and share this article on your favorite social sites. Thanks!

Authored by   

Be sure to check out ou FAQ page 
to find out more about 
the hiring and background check process. 

And find out more About Us and our Background Investigation, Business Mentoring, and Security Consulting services too!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Expunging Criminal Records ~ What You Need to Know

What You Need to Know about Expunged Records and Hiring!
Having a criminal record, even for a one time offense, can have serious consequences on a person’s future.  

It can impact their ability to rent an apartment or own a home, get a student loan, and even to volunteer in their child’s school.

The Biggest Struggle for Ex-Offenders is Finding a Job  “Tweet This”

However, the most serious problem for an ex-offender is finding a job. There are many employers that steadfastly refuse to even consider hiring someone with a criminal record, despite laws designed to give these offenders a second chance.

Regulations stemming from the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and set as guidelines by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), address this issue of criminal records and employment. These laws seek to delay the background check and restrict how far back an employer can go when considering a past criminal record.

Some states are looking to go even further.

States seek to Help Ex-Offenders Expunge their Record  “Tweet This”

These states are passing legislation that will expand the ability of ex-offenders to have their record expunged.  

In many cases, it will be is as if their conviction never existed. A job applicant would be then be able to legally state that they have never been convicted of a crime.

Many believe it is a way to give an ex-offender a second chance. Others feel it is simply a way for those convicted of a crime to hide their past.   

Many of these laws have even expanded the types of crimes permitted to be expunged. Most states restrict it to those who have committed non-violent felonies and misdemeanors. This includes such offenses as vandalism and criminal trespass.

All of these states require that the terms of the offender’s sentence must have been completed and, in order for an expungement to be granted, for there to have been no additional offenses for a determined number of years.

Proponents believe expungements are a way to prevent a minor criminal from continuing to be plagued by their past. The goal is to get them back to work and decrease the chance that they will re-offend. 

Despite these good intentions, expanding the ability to expunge past crimes is also cause for concern. 

Questions arise as to what some state legislation considers a non-violent offense. In Kentucky, for example, cases of reckless homicide, stalking, torturing animals, or even assaulting a police officer can be categorized as non-violent.

Another worry is that the nature of the crime, or any possible special circumstances surrounding that crime, has no bearing on whether an expungement is granted. Many states give judges no discretion to consider anything other than whether the ex-offender meets their state’s expungement criteria.

Also at issue is the lack of communication among states and localities. It is conceivable that a person who has been granted an expungement in one state, can then go on to commit a crime in another state. Then, upon meeting that second state’s criteria, can be given another expungement.  Because of the original expungement, there would be little chance of a link existing that shows this person has re-offended.

Even legally obtained expungements do not always keep past criminal records from surfacing. It is not practical or realistic to believe that these records will automatically be removed from all databases in which they exist. 

As a background check provider, I am expected to avoid reporting any record that has been expunged. Because I use direct court records to generate my report, this requirement is a little easier.

However, screening services that either maintain their own database or use another online database to research criminal records can fun afoul of this law. When the expunged record has not been removed from the database and it is included, these companies are not assuring the maximum possibly accuracy in their report, as required by the FCRA of all background screening services. 

Opponents also worry about keeping a criminal record from employers. They believe that a employer should know their applicant’s criminal history in order to make an informed hire.

My take….

I believe in second chances. Making a mistake, especially a one time mistake, should not keep you from having a future. And there is no better way of helping someone earn a future than by giving them a job.
Read more about this in, “Once a Criminal, Always a Criminal ~ Why I Believe in Second Chances”!

However, I also believe that employers should have all the information possible to make an informed hiring decision. Expunged records will only make the hiring process more problematic.

Current laws already limit how, when, and why a criminal record can be used to determine employment. 

The EEOC requires you, as an employer, to differentiate between arrests and convictions, wait to run a background check until a conditional offer of employment and, if a record is found, examine that record on a case by case basis to see if it should prohibit you from hiring them.

And in many cases, a criminal history cannot be used to deny employment unless it is relevant to the job. In addition, guidelines limit the records that can even be considered to the past 7 to 10 years. 

In effect, these existing EEOC and FCRA guidelines already make a long ago record, arrests, or minor offenses irrelevant to hiring.

Find out more about these laws here!

It is also important that you know your applicant’s criminal history so you can determine if they are safely able to do the job. And that means knowing if their criminal past could pose a threat to you or your company. 

There is also the question of employer liability when hiring someone with a criminal record, whether you know about it or not. Lawsuits where the employee is held liable for the behavior of their employees are not unheard of.

Using expungement as a way to act as if a person’s criminal record NEVER existed is not the answer.

I think that instead promoting expungement, the best option is to fully enforce existing FCRA and EEOC requirements concerning criminal backgrounds and employment.

The current screening laws need to be more vigorously monitored and, if infractions occur, employees should be held accountable. This includes laws concerning banning the box, individual assessments, and applicant rights in employment background checks.

This would help ensure that ex-offenders are being given the chance to become productive and successful. And there is no doubt that having a job goes a long way towards accomplishing that goal.

Instead of expanding expungements, there is also a better way to address employer liability. It starts with giving employers immunity from prosecution for hiring someone with a criminal record. Knowing that you will not be held accountable goes a long way towards giving you the peace of mind to take a chance on hiring an ex-offender.

Increasing the number of programs that teach convicted criminals needed job skills are equally as important. It is also crucial to form partnerships with companies willing to hire these trained ex-offenders. 

These ideas only work, however, if you are able to hire with the full knowledge of your applicant’s criminal past. Then you can be more careful where you place these employees and that you monitor them more closely.

This gives ex-offenders a second chance to prove themselves without putting your company in jeopardy.

Whether or not expungement rights exist in your state, as an employer, you should consider periodically re-screening your existing employees. This can help protect you in case your employee either re-offends or offends for the first time.

Discover more about re-screening your existing employees here!

If the ability to expunge records is available, it shouldn’t be done with the “one size fits all” approach. Using the idea of individual assessments instead makes sense. This would allow judges to look at each request on a case by case basis.  

It would be wise to look at what the ex-offender has done since committing their crime. Have they taken any steps to try and better themselves?

It is also crucial to be vigilant about checking for any other instances of criminal behavior, and not just in the court where the last offense occurred.  

These steps can work beyond the arena of employment and into the areas of student loans, voting rights, home ownership, and many others where having a past criminal history impedes future rights.

Taking the time to look at each case individually, instead of making blanket assumptions, makes sense.  

People need to be held accountable for their actions, but we also need to recognize and reward efforts of rehabilitation.  

We, as people, will be better for it! 

Please Share this article and Leave a Comment. We would love to hear your thoughts!

Authored by   

I will give you the tools you need to navigate the world of hiring and background checks. 

API Can Help You Hire Safely!
Discover more About Us and Our Background Investigation Services too!  Thanks! 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Job Seekers: Do You Have a Criminal Record? Find out the Best Time for You to Tell Your New Employer!

#SmallBiz #Hiring #JobTips

Finding a job is a lot of work.  And if you have a criminal record, the entire process becomes even more difficult.  

In this challenging job market, many ex-offenders feel like they don't stand a chance against job seekers with clean records.

It is important to keep in mind that most employers will screen for criminal history. Existing “Ban the Box” laws and other guidelines may dictate when and how employers can use that information, but being screened is still a reality for anyone seeking employment. 

That is why it is important that you deal with your criminal record head on!

Ex-Offenders Looking for Work are Wise to Disclose their Criminal Past!  “Tweet This”

One of the most common areas of concern for ex-offenders is whether or not to Self-Disclose their criminal past.

Laws exist that dictate when and how an employer can use your criminal record in deciding employment. It is important to remember that those laws are there to protect you.  

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Guidelines state that you cannot be denied employment based solely on your criminal record history (except in certain industries as required by law). Instead, an employer’s decision whether or not to hire you must be based on “business necessity”.  

When looking at your criminal record, Employers must consider:
  • The nature and gravity of your offense or offenses.
  • The time that has passed since your conviction and/or completion of the sentence.
  • The nature of the job you are seeking.
Learn more about criminal histories and hiring here!

Despite these protections, many ex-offenders are still worried. You may think that it is better to just stay quiet and take the chance that your past will not be uncovered.
This is unwise.

Instead, the smartest thing you can do is be open and up front about your criminal history 

#SmallBiz #Hiring #BackgroundChecks
The important questions then become; When, What, and How to do it right!

Discover When and How You Should Disclose Your Criminal Past to Employers  “Tweet This”

  • When Should You Tell Your Potential Employer about Your Criminal History? 
The best time for you to self-disclose is either after the interview (if an interview is part of the hiring process) or when you receive a conditional offer of employment.

In either case, by then the employer has had the chance to get to know you, access your skills, and is interested. And in most cases, it is at this point when a background check is imminent.

That is why taking the time now to talk about your criminal past makes sense.  
  • What Should You Disclose about Your Criminal History?
Convictions that occurred in the past 7 to 10 years.
Current employment laws and guidelines have focused on the validity of using convictions and not arrests as part of the employment screening process.  In most cases, that is where your potential employer will place the greatest weight. 

You can find out more about Convictions vs Arrests in Employment Background Checks here!

  • How Should You Explain Your Criminal History to a Potential Employer?
My #1 recommendation is that you focus on what you have learned from your past.  

Take responsibility and be ready to explain any circumstances that lead to you committing your crime(s). When you are  truthful, it is much more likely that the employer will put your past in context.  

But don’t let your conviction be the focus – stress what you’ve learned from the experience.   

Take this time to explain what you have done to reform. Share clear examples of any training programs you have completed or any certificates you have earned (even those earned while you may have been incarcerated). 

You should also include any letters of recommendation from employers, mentors, or even support group leaders. Be sure to emphasize any examples of your reliability and trustworthiness.  

What your potential employer is really looking for is anything you have done to show you have moved on and have done the work to improve yourself.

While sharing this personal information may be difficult, it can go a long way towards getting you a second chance and showing you have moved on.

For many employers, finding out you lied can be a bigger deal breaker than discovering you having a criminal history. That is why being prepared and  ready to take responsibility is crucial.   

Employers realize that not everyone looking for a job is squeaky clean. So when you take it upon yourself to be open up front about what you have done, they are more likely than ever before to give you a second chance.  

Bottom Line ~ it is in your best interest to be truthful. Don’t take the chance that your criminal past won’t show up. It will.  

Being proactive and taking the initiative to Self-Disclose will leave a much more favorable impression than if you let your employer find out only after the criminal check!

Please Leave a Comment and Share this on your favorite social sites! Thanks!

Authored by   

API can help you navigate the world of Employment and Background Checks.  Visit our About Us and Background Investigation pages to find out more!

Contact Us here for any questions you may have about Hiring, Security, and Your Small Business.  We would love to hear from you!