How Your Company Can Comply With Fair Chance Hiring Laws

All businesses must consider many candidates in their search for the best employees. Unfortunately, applicants with criminal backgrounds often go overlooked despite their qualifications because businesses assume such applicants are ill-suited for their company. This immediate rejection makes it difficult for many skilled applicants with a criminal record to find work, which also hurts the public because letting them work reduces recidivism.

The Fair Chance Act is attempting to change this. This Act is also referred to as the Ban-the-Box law and is active in 35 states and many cities. The Fair Chance Act prohibits employers in these states or cities from asking about criminal history on job applications or in interviews. However, after a conditional offer of employment is made, employers are permitted to ask about criminal history and conduct a background check. If the candidate has a criminal record, then they can consider it when making their final decision.

It is best to limit questions to interests such as skills, education, job duties, and how a candidate might fit in your company. When deciding whether to make a conditional offer, it is important to consider whether they could help your business rather than focus on their past.

If you decide to make an offer and then run a criminal background check, you should consider the results carefully. Even if there are arrests or convictions, you should consider the results carefully. For example, arrests happen to innocent people often, so you must look into the conviction records to see the court decision before assuming the person violated the law.

Even when someone has a conviction record, you should run an individual analysis to determine how relevant the conviction is for the position in question. Not all convictions should stop a candidate from qualifying for a job. For example, having a record for drug possession should prevent an applicant from working in a hospital, but it should not affect someone’s ability to work in a library.

If you decide to rescind the job offer, you must consider the law in your area. For example, some places restrict the ability to revoke offers but may allow candidates to rebut them. Others may require employers to justify the decision to withdraw the offer. Regardless, employers must know the laws of their area. If an employer has doubts, it may be best to consult an attorney.

Final Thoughts

It is vital to ensure your business complies with any applicable ban-the-box laws. However, it is also necessary to give deserving applicants a chance despite their background. Besides helping the applicant to rehabilitate, they may become a truly valuable employee of the company.

Ban-the-Box laws can be complicated, and mistakes can happen. Therefore, it is vital for companies to partner with reliable background check companies that they know will stay up-to-date with the laws, help them comply with the law, and provide accurate reports every time.

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