Criminal background information in employment: It’s not what you learn, but how you use it

Editor’s Note: Rendi L. Mann-Stadt is a member of the Labor and Employment Practice Group at Ward and Smith, P.A.  The Problem Job applications frequently include questions such as: “Have you ever been arrested?” “Have you ever been charged with a crime?” “Other than a traffic ticket, have you been convicted of a crime?” The employer usually believes these questions are harmless but nevertheless necessary to diligently screen candidates. The advantages of knowing such information when hiring or promoting is obvious. However, a recent “Enforcement Guidance” issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) reinforces the warning that employers...

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