Questions to Consider under EEOC Guidelines
1. Do you have knowledge that the applicant actually perpetrated the offense?
Per the EEOC, employers are required to (1) provide the applicant with the option to explain the events surrounding his/her arrest(s) and (2) take reasonable measures to confirm the validity of his/her explanation prior to denying employment.
2. What is the nature and severity of the offense?
The law requires that employers consider the type and degree of the offense(s) in question. Rather than grouping all crimes into one category and creating an across-the-board policy, the EEOC prefers that employers recognize the difference between, for example, a jaywalking violation and grand theft charge.
3. How long ago did the offense occur?
Though no specific guidelines exist, the EEOC suggests that employers consider the time that has passed since the offense occurred. To illustrate, a more serious offense such as murder would typically remain pertinent for a longer period of time than would a disorderly conduct charge. However, keep in mind that the Fair Credit Reporting Act also contains limits on the age of information used.
4. What is the nature of the position being applied for?
Employers must weigh the relevance of the criminal information with the type of position being applied for. A felony assault charge against an artist who would potentially work alone from his/her home may not be as pertinent as it might be for an individual applying for a live-in nursing position.