Criminal Background Discrimination in Hiring

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Criminal law is a very important aspect of the legal system, and the consequences of a criminal charge can last a lifetime. Even though discrimination protections outlined in the Civil Rights Act of 1974 prevent discrimination automatically based on a criminal charge, and instead the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires the hiring employer to consider three factors before disqualifying an applicant (Carman, 2018). These factors are the nature and seriousness of the offense, the length of time since the charge, and the nature of the work the applicant is seeking with the employer. While a criminal record is not to be ignored, it is to be considered carefully in regard to the risk it would bring to the position.

One reason for this protection is the fact that certain races have been found to be convicted at higher rates than others, so simply using a blanket policy of refusing the person’s application because of the charges could mean the business has become biased against some races, even if that was not their intent (Carman, 2018). At the same time, the EEOC does not give the convicted the full freedom of a person without a conviction. The nature of the offense and time when it occurred can play very greatly into whether or not they are protected under the intent of the law. A person with a history of armed robbery applying for a position that handles large amounts of money is clearly not a good fit and establishes a solid reason for declining the applicant. On the other hand, if they had a vandalism charge that happened to be a felony when they were twenty years old, and thirty years had passed with no other record, it would not make sense to bar them from employment for every position. The intent of the justice system is to create a good society, and rehabilitation is an important part of that. The safety of the workers at the hiring facility must also be considered, and certain fields like child care will have much more stringent considerations.

Hiring concerns relate directly to criminal law because the consequences of a mishandled legal proceeding could greatly affect a person for the rest of their life. It is critical that these determinations are standard, fair, and reasonable when trying to prove guilt. Both the company and the applicant have rights, and the line must be carefully navigated to ensure that the rights of both parties are not being infringed.

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