Criminal Records: Changes in Hiring For Connecticut

As reported in the Journal Inquirer June 28, 2010, Connecticut joins the growing list of states and cities adopting what is termed the “ban the box” movement within the hiring process.

The box the article is referring to is on the job application completed by each candidate.  The question asks if the candidate has ever been convicted of a crime.

The law for Connecticut goes into effect October 1, 2010.  The article states several cities including New Haven, Hartford and Norwich has also adopted the “ban the box” change. It appears the law change will only effect state and city positions at this time.

The change does not prohibit an employer from asking the question, just not on the initial job application form.  The theory is that if the candidate has been successfully screened into a potential hiring position, during a face to face the candidate can offer details and explanations as to why they have the conviction, whereas a check box on the application could lead to a sure fire screening out of being potentially hired.

As a fraud examiner who has dealt with many individuals who have made poor decisions, permanently effecting their family, reputation and career, I encourage every employer to ensure themselves that this question regarding the potential trustworthiness of a future hire is included within every hiring process.  It’s not to say that anyone convicted of a crime should not be hired ever again, certainly that should not be the case.  However, every employer should have all the facts about a candidate’s background to allow for an informed hiring decision.

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  13. Stephen says:

    Here’s more on this issue – today’s Connecticut Law Tribune:
    EEOC Warns Against Illegal Job-Screening Tactics
    Companies using criminal records or bad credit reports to screen out job applicants might run afoul of anti-discrimination laws as the government steps up scrutiny of hiring policies that could hurt blacks and Hispanics. A blanket refusal to hire workers based on criminal records or credit problems can be illegal if it has a disparate impact on racial minorities, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. “Our sense is that the problem is snowballing because of the technology allowing these checks to be done with a fair amount of ease,” said Carol Miaskoff, assistant legal counsel at the EEOC. In 2008, African-Americans were about six times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. The incarceration rate for Latinos was 2.3 times higher than whites. If criminal histories are taken into account, the EEOC says employers must also consider the nature of the job and seriousness of the offense. For example, it may make sense to disqualify a bank employee with a conviction for embezzlement, but not necessarily for drunken driving.

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