As many of you know, last April the EEOC updated its recommendations on employers’ use of applicants’ arrest and conviction records. At its core, the updated enforcement guidance makes illegal policies that automatically reject job candidates simply because they have a criminal record.

The enforcement guidance sets forth criteria employers should consider when making hiring decisions on applicants with criminal histories. They are:

  • The nature and gravity of the offense or conduct;
  • The time that has passed since the offense or conduct and/or completion of the sentence; and
  • The nature of the specific position.

The guidance also encourages employers to provide opportunities for individualized assessment for those individuals who are screened out. The EEOC suggests that employers should assess each individual in a manner that provides a way for employers to ensure that they are not mistakenly screening out qualified applicants or employees based on incorrect, incomplete, or irrelevant information, and for individuals to correct errors in their records.

Ultimately, employers are well served to consider the nature of the position to be filled and whether the findings from a background check should exclude the employee from the position.