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What restrictions are there on using criminal background checks in the hiring process?

By Ryan Orr, JD, HR and Compliance Consultant –

Cascade Employers Association


Due to the potential risk of disparate impact discrimination, the EEOC suggests that employers should not deny employment to individuals based solely on a record of an arrest, charge, or conviction. Instead, consider the nature of the job, the nature and severity of the offense, and the amount of time since the conviction.


Give applicants an opportunity to explain, and consider their explanations. Also, remember that an arrest or charge does not necessarily mean that the applicant actually committed the offense.


Additionally, don’t forget that employers are required to advise applicants in writing that they will be subject to a criminal background check, to obtain written authorization from the applicant to conduct the check, and to advise the applicant that a conviction or arrest will not automatically result in disqualification from employment.


Reprinted with permission from Cascade Employers Association.