Use of Convictions when hiring

Especially for our Employment Screening clients, I wanted to share some important information from PA Law and a recent article by James Baker of the York County Manufacturer’s Association when using Criminal Convictions as part of your hiring process and/or denying employment.

In a January 11, 2012 Press Release the EEOC announced that “using arrest and conviction records to deny employment can be illegal if it’s irrelevant to the job.” The agency says that such blanket policies can limit job opportunities to minorities with higher arrest and conviction rates than whites.

A December 2010 article by James Baker states the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) had proposed that it intends to treat an employer’s rejection of an African-American or Hispanic applicant because of his or her criminal record as presumptive evidence that the employer is discriminating against the applicant in violation with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

The PHRC has since take the position that “without proof of business necessity, an employer’s use of arrest records to disqualify applicants is unlawful. An employer must be able to show that inquiry into conviction is substantially related to an applicants suitability to perform major job duties. Conviction records should be cause of rejection only if their number, nature or recentness would cause the applicant to be unsuitable for the position.”

Whether you are using an Employment Screening vendor to search for convictions or doing the searches with your own internal staff or resources, this is only meant to give you as much data as possible to make the most informed hiring decision. Please consult your own legal counsel to develop your internal policy on when to use conviction data appropriately.

Happy hiring

Steve Gohn, President