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New EEOC Requirements on Arrest or Conviction Records

In the past, criminal background checks were used only to review the backgrounds of candidates applying for more sensitive positions, such as those that required working with children. Due to advancements in technology, which have provided easier access to information, this is no longer true. Today, an astounding 73 percent of employers have reported using criminal background checks on all employees, regardless of the job position and the duties entailed.  

The job market today contains a surplus of applicants and a shortage of jobs. When a company has positions available, the human resources department receives a very large quantity of applications. In order to more easily sift through the pool, background checks have been employed to narrow down the numbers of qualified applicants, discarding those with arrest or conviction records.

Advocates of employee rights were well aware of this practice, and recently came out victorious in approving regulations that will make it easier for those with records to obtain jobs. In a vote of 4 to 1, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) approved new laws that require companies to change how they use background checks for hiring activities and in the workplace.

Criminal background checks have long created racial disparities at companies because members of racial minority groups statistically have higher rates of arrests and convictions. When background checks are performed for all jobs, these minorities immediately become locked out. The new regulations intend to prevent this kind of discrimination from occurring by changing when and how background checks can be used. Now, the approved regulations state that criminal background checks can only be performed if it is proven that they are necessary and relevant to the duties of the job. The law also state that employers should exercise caution when reviewing background checks as arrests do not necessarily mean criminal activity has occurred, and these candidates should not be wrongly eliminated from consideration.

While the new guidelines passed by the EEOC are a win for both employees and those seeking employment, they are also still beneficial for employers. The rules on when and how background checks can be used by companies may have changed, but employers still uphold the right to use criminal background checks in their business operations when appropriate. Many businesses see them as necessary for creating a safe work environment as well as building a team that they can trust.

The new requirements serve the interests of both the employers and employees. While these laws act as a check on employers, protecting the rights of job seekers and employees, they aren’t banned from running background checks should they see it fit for the job at hand.

As a company, it is important for you to understand the new regulations set forth by the EEOC and implement them in your hiring and workplace practices. Additionally, for the good of your employees, it is helpful to analyze benefits survey data, compensation surveys and salary reports. Having this information at hand allows you to plan a budget, including competitive employee salaries and benefits, which will help you to hire and retain a happy, talented team. At WageWatch, our expert evaluators provide businesses in a large range of industries with accurate and beneficial benefits survey data, compensation surveys and salary reports to ensure that payment and benefits plans are on par with those in the industry. For more information on market compensation data, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online(https://www.wagewatch.com/Contact/ContactUs.aspx).