The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission precludes an absolute bar to employment based on arrest records. Similarly, courts have held the use of arrest records to disqualify a job applicant constitutes unlawful discrimination. Therefore, while an employer may inquire whether job applicants have ever been convicted of a crime, it may not reduce the pile of applications by simply tossing out those that check the “yes” box to that question.
The employer should consider the relationship between the conviction and applicant’s fitness for the position. A conviction would be a sufficient reason for rejection if the nature and gravity of the offense, the time that has passed since the conviction, and the nature of the position would cause the applicant to be unsuitable for the position.
As a benefit for hiring people with criminal records, employers may be eligible for a tax credit through the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Contact 1-800-482-2959 for details.
For more information, or if you have any questions, contact Employment Law attorney Jeffrey M. Black at (616) 458-3994 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.