Last time, we chatted about the EEOC and their newer guidelines when it comes to screening potential new employees through the criminal background check process. This time, we will discuss what a company can do to help themselves be compliant with the EEOC guidelines.
There are 3 things that a company can do to ensure that it follows the EEOC guidelines. The first is to develop the guidelines that it will use during the individual assessment, prior to the hiring process. Second, make sure that if it is disqualifying someone from a position- it is reasonable and the reasoning is specific-and the company should keep records of why the decision was reasonable concerning this person and position. Lastly, the company should make sure it is complying with regulations already in place, like the Fair Credit Reporting Act. These suggestions are designed to help companies more easily show the decision making process involved, and prove that a thorough individual assessment was conducted.
For many companies, the criminal background check begins with a box on their employment application. Now, understand that these boxes aren’t illegal. However, it may be worth considering removing them from your application. In an article I recently read, an attorney suggested that the check-box on the application form now becomes a matter of judgment and risk. If you are going to keep using the box on the application, then it really becomes important to have good protocols in how you evaluate the information. If the individual’s criminal background becomes a deciding factor in disqualification, then you should have solid guidelines, as well as a good record of doing the assessment. Otherwise, you may be vulnerable to questioning of how you are using information and are you really following what the expectation is, at least regarding civil rights agencies?
Some businesses see the increased involvement of the EEOC as adding to their liability and potential lawsuits if something bad would happen with someone that was previously convicted of a crime. These new guidelines do not require a company to hire someone with a dangerous or relevant criminal history.
Some people believe that trend of workplace violence has been decreasing. Part of the reason could be that most employers already do a really good job of assessing potential employees. They have pretty solid qualification requirements. Employers are in a very difficult position because of the case laws that are on record that prove “failure to use reasonable care” when it comes to hiring and retaining employees with violent histories. The other side of this is the scrutiny they will be subjected to if they hire someone that has a history of violence and then something bad happens.
Although this whole process can be difficult to do, and it will cost you some money, the EEOC’s idea here is pretty simple: Let these new guidelines challenge you to clearly spell out the requirements for employment and document why an individual would be disqualified from employment at your organization.
About the Author: Tom Dumez has been a guest on the ‘RIMpro Report’ and ‘Inside The Records Room’ internet shows, been published by Storage and Destruction Business magazine, and interviewed by Joanne Finnegan of HCPro, Inc. Tom is president of Prime Compliance, LLC , a Certified HIPAA Professional (CHP), a Certified Security Compliance Specialist (CSCS), and was on the Professional Records and Information Services Management (PRISM) International Board of Directors-January 2011 through December 2012.
Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author. Security Bistro is not responsible for the article’s content or messaging.
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