Criminal Background Checks - EEOC guidance

Curious if anyone is changing their procedures in light of the new EEOC guidance on criminal background checks?

Specifically, is anyone removing or revising wording on applications asking general questions about criminal convictions?

From what I understand that is not being [U]required[/U] but is being recommended as a best practice.


  • 9 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I'm keeping mine the same for the time being, as we limit scope and clearly state that having a conviction isn't an automatic disqualifier. Here's what our language says:

    Have you been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor within the past 7 years? If yes, please give the date(s) and the nature of the offense(s). (If pre-disclosed, infractions are not necessarily disqualifying and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Failure to disclose past convictions, however, may result in termination or withdrawal of offer of employment.)
  • I like your wording, Coffee. Its almost cheerful.
  • As a bank, we are not changing ours. We will continue to run a criminal background check and credit report on all new hires. We require all employees to be bonded and our insurance company will not bond anyone that has criminal records for theft, dishonesty, etc.
    Our new and improved applications from a vendor have already removed the question about previous arrest or pleaded quilty to type of quetions.
  • Hi everyone,
    As far as background checks, are you running background checks with fingerprinting?
  • We are not changing ours either. We are a non-profit community action agency. Many of our funding sources require background screening. Our biggest program happens to be Head Start which requires every check under the sun and our Homemaker Program requires APS and other checks as well. So, agency wide, it's our policy that everyone goes through the fingerprint check, APS, DHHR check and a couple more.
  • We are not using fingerprints for the typical new hire. However, in order to comply with the SAFE Act all Mortgage Lendgers must be finger printed and go through an FBI background check in order to be on the Registry of the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System.
  • I don't think we have anything in our policy that runs afoul of the new guidance. If anything, I think the new guidance just clarifies the 'spirit' of the law, and I've always leaned that direction.
  • No change here, either. Our wording is similar to Coffee's:

    "Have you ever been convicted of any crime, had adjudication withheld, or plead no contest to a crime? If Yes, please state the type of crime and the circumstances with regard to each, including date of the conviction or plea and the penalty, if any, imposed by the court. Note: Answering yest may not necessarily disqualify you from the position yo desire. Each action and explanation will be weighted/considered in relationship to the position for which you are applying."
  • [SIZE=2]Here's a bit of information from Joan Ferrell one of our legal experts:[/SIZE]

    [FONT=Arial]The best practices recommended in the EEOC guidance aren’t required, but employers might want to take a look at their hiring practices to make sure there’s a correlation between the questions they ask and the requirements of a given job, including whether there’s a need to ask about criminal history on their application forms. There may be a better way, or a better time during the hiring process, to ask the questions.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial] [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial] As indicated in the thread, some employers have job-related reasons for asking about an applicant’s criminal history and some are asking because it’s required by law for certain jobs. These factors, along with state laws and local ordinances, will affect an employer’s decision on when and whether to ask about criminal history. Some states have “ban the box” laws that prohibit most employers from asking about criminal history on an application form. Depending on the law, employers may be able to ask the questions during an interview, after a conditional offer of employment has been made, or at another point in the hiring process.[/FONT]

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