Criminal Convictions Clashing with Employment

With the job market and employment rate being what it is, many potential employees are doing everything possible to clean up their records to improve their chances of employment. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal is a prime example of what is going on today.

Employers often inquire as to whether the employment candidate has a criminal conviction and more so today what the financial stability of the candidate is. These can be legitimate inquiries. The problem arises when the potential candidate thinks their record is cleared from the public record. As is often the case, even if the candidate has their criminal record cleared (expunged), many times the criminal conviction will have been picked up and stored on other databases. Thus, the problem arises when the candidate reports to the potential employer that the candidate has no criminal past record but the potential employer’s background check reports otherwise.

Trying to clear a past criminal conviction can be difficult because many times local news web sites may pick up the arrest or convictions. Increasingly more so today, search engines include old news articles and information and police reports which could include arrest and/or convictions.

Background checks are becoming more common place in the work force and understandably so. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, more than 80% of companies performed background checks on potential employees in 2006.

Employers could have an obligation to have potential employees thoroughly investigated with background checks in order to safeguard existing employees, customers and personal information obtained from customers or other sources to prevent identity theft.

Employers need to thoroughly interview and feel comfortable with the potential employee. The employment relationship is founded on trust. The employee should be honest and up front. There may be bad news from years past which the employee should share up front and not try to hide even though the record is legally cleared.

As an employer, if you have questions concerning background checks and employment questions, please feel free to contact us.