Background check study shows favor for employers

survey found that more than 90 percent of employers run criminal checks on job applicants, while 60 percent sometimes screen for credit, depending on the position. Black marks on either report can prove fatal for the estimated 65 million U.S. adults with criminal records. What this shows is that, due to the economic downturn and despite some positive areas, we predominantly live in an employers’ world. “With more than four unemployed workers per opening…The buyer’s market for labor has employers relying on criminal and credit background reports to help thin the applicant pool and avoid potential lawsuits for negligent hiring”. With so much competition for each vacant position, employers can evaluate all applicant’s to a significant level to avoid hiring mistakes. The smallest blip on a record will likely therefore result in no longer being considered for a role, as there are so many other candidates out there. EEOC looking for change The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces federal civil rights law in the area of fair employment practices, is addressing this issue. For the first time in 25 years, the commission is revising its guidance to employers on properly evaluating criminal records in pre-employment screening. That prospect, and the commission’s stepped-up investigation of job-screening policies that disproportionately hurt minorities, has employers wondering whether new EEOC guidelines will make criminal background checks even more complicated to use and harder to defend in court. Employers have a tough-enough time trying to protect company interests and give ex-offenders second chances without new commission guidelines making it even tougher, said Richard Mellor, vice president for loss prevention at the National Retail Federation. “We do want to give second chances,” he said. “We’ve all made mistakes in our lives, and people deserve an opportunity to improve and to become employed.” New EEOC guidelines “could be a real good thing,” he added, but new federal “restrictions that prohibit or impede us from (doing) the responsible thing are not.” Applicant/employer balance Prior to the recession, job applicants had a lot more power. The job market was booming and the demand for workers was, in some areas, going at a higher rate than could be filled. Now, things have changed. The power has returned to the employers. The debate is raging as to how that power can be balanced – allowing individuals to get back to work, as well as allowing employers to ensure their business is protected. Once the job market gets going again, as well as seeing possible legislation introduced by the EEOC, the balance may well shift back to the job applicant. Only time will tell.  ]]>

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