The justice system of the United States is based around the idea of rehabilitation, and in that spirit, companies shouldn’t automatically disqualify someone for employment just because of a criminal conviction.

In fact, automatically disqualifying someone due to a conviction could mean missing out on very talented individuals who just happened to have made a serious error in judgment once upon a time.

With regards to hiring job seekers with criminal records, the issue is pretty complicated. As with most things in life, there are points to be made both for and against. While many human resource workers say they have hired someone with a criminal record, surveys have shown the majority of hiring manager have not.

Hiring personnel have to determine on behalf of their business if a particular job seeker with a checkered history has been rehabilitated to the point they are able to reenter the workforce.

Furthermore, if a company hires an individual with a conviction for a serious crime, the existing workforce in the office will be affected. A company should be prepared for a bevy of potential issues. For instance, a decision needs to be made whether the other workers have the right to know about the person’s past. A company must decide if the new worker has the right for their past to remain in the past, allowing them to be judged on the quality of their work.

If you are considering hiring those with a criminal past, there are a number of things you need to consider. It is important to note that you should always follow all labor laws pertaining to the criminal histories of applicants.

What was the nature of the crime?

You should be particularly cautious if an applicant’s conviction is directly related to what their job duties would be. For instance, if the job involves driving, you may not want to hire someone with a drunk driving conviction. Or if someone was convicted for embezzlement, you might not want to make them your accountant.

That’s not to say people cannot learn their lesson or change their ways, but the nature of the crime should be taken into consideration.

How long has it been?

Convictions that occurred a long time ago may not accurately characterize who a person is today. If a candidate was convicted of a non-violent crime 15 years ago, they may not pose a threat to your company, your workers or your clients.

Is there a solid explanation?

If someone is otherwise qualified for the position, you should give them every chance to explain the circumstances around their conviction. Ideally, they should be able to convince you that their criminal past will have no bearing on how they would perform the job.

At Action Group, we support the rehabilitation of those with criminal pasts, and also respect the hiring standards of our client companies. If you are currently looking for a custom staffing solution for your organization, please contact us today.

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