What to Consider When Hiring Someone With a Criminal Record
Hiring someone with a past criminal record, often known as second-chance hiring, can be an excellent way to expand your talent pool. After all, nearly one in three people have some sort of criminal background, and two-thirds of U.S. companies are giving some previous offenders a second chance. So if you exclude people with a record altogether, you’re a bit behind the times. However, second-chance hiring does come with some important caveats. Here’s what you should know.
Legal Considerations with Second Chance Hiring
All aspects of criminal background considerations are legally dicey. Depending on your state, it may be illegal to hire people with certain types of convictions for specific positions. For example, you probably know better than to hire someone who was convicted of crimes against children to work in a daycare. Still, it could be that any type of violent crime at all legally disqualifies the person from the position. On the flip side, it could be illegal in your state to even run a criminal background check until you are ready to make a job offer. Since laws vary so much by jurisdiction and job role, it’s extremely important to consult with your attorney.
Whatever position you take on prior offenses, it’s both ethically and legally vital to apply the same standard across the board. Your policy must be equal to all individuals. Likewise, it’s also important to protect people’s privacy. If you decide to hire someone with a criminal record, keep it to yourself. Your employees don’t need to know who has a record and who does not. Plan on a universal policy for every employee and applied equally to everyone.
In many cases, people who are trying to reestablish themselves after incarceration need extra support. From childcare concerns to time off for meetings with a probation officer, they may need wraparound services to help them thrive. To provide this assistance without “outing” the new employee as a former convicted offender, revisit your policies for all employees. Can you offer flextime or work-from-home options? Do you have an employee assistance program in place? This is a great time to look at how your company can better serve everyone who works for you.
Hiring someone with a criminal record can bring some challenges, but in many cases the rewards are well worth the trouble. Learn which types of crimes are legally disqualifying, know when it’s okay to run a background check, and make sure you equitably apply whatever policy you choose.
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