To Hire or Not to Hire – Making a Decision on a Criminal Past

Are you allowed to hire this person due to a company policy? Should you? Do you throw away a perfectly good candidate simply because they messed up ten years ago? The truth is there is no easy answer to any of these questions. However, there are some things that you should consider when making the decision on hiring someone with a criminal past.

The first thing you should do is to look at any policies that your company may have. Many companies will have blanket policies that will cover criminal backgrounds. If yours is one of them, it is advisable for you to stick to those policies, no exceptions. You definitely don’t want to get caught in the position of making an exception for one potential employee then be forced to make an exception on another. If you do not have a policy, you may want to consider making one. However, you should make sure if you do that you are in contact with an employment lawyer to ensure you are within the law.

Another thing that you will want to do when making a decision on the hiring of someone with a criminal past is the nature of the crime. If you work at a bank or accounting firm, someone with an embezzlement charge may not be the best choice when hiring, but someone with a DUI may be fine. The truth is someone who may have a crime totally unrelated to the position at hand shouldn’t be affected by it. The crime would have no impact, in most cases, on their performance.

You should also ask yourself a series of questions when considering if you should hire someone with a criminal past. Some of the questions you should ask include: How severe were the crimes? Were they violent in nature? Has the potential employee seemed to clean up their act? Does the potential employee pose any threat to the workplace based on these crimes? Will these crimes affect the way the employee performs? Is there anything in your company policy that prohibits or encourages this type of hiring? By asking these questions, you will be able to more easily make a decision about hiring someone with a criminal past.

It is important to realize that it is possible if you choose NOT to hire a person with a criminal past that it could be considered discriminatory in certain cases based on EEOC guidelines. This is why it may be in your best interest to keep an employment lawyer on hand before making any hiring decision such as these. As with anything having to do with employment law, it is best to be safe, rather than sorry. Though you will likely be able to make the decision you feel is best concerning someone with a criminal background, make sure it is within the confines of the law.

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