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WHEN SHOULD AN ENTITY INQUIRE ABOUT A PERSON’S PRIOR CONVICTIONS, IF AT ALL?

Inmates do not necessarily deteriorate while incarcerated or remain permanently changed by their experience. There are innumerable examples of inmates who do their sentence, are released, and then go on to lead productive lives after release, demonstrating that incarceration may be effective for rehabilitation. Some people are unfairly incarcerated, while others are locked up for too little time to make a significant difference in their life. A staggering 92% of businesses report checking the criminal histories of potential hires, despite the fact that only about 65% of adults in the United States have ever been convicted of a crime. This hampers many people as they try to plan for the future.

Finding gainful employment is crucial to making a successful comeback after serving time in prison or jail. People going through this have a lot to lose when potential employers inquire about their past convictions. Should I be honest, or should I keep quiet because this is secret data? Once they have this information, what options do these companies have with it?  To know more about your workplace rights discuss with employment lawyer Ravi Sattiraju.

Is it Legal to Ask About Previous Convictions?

Companies are not prohibited by law from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal record; however, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibits discrimination based on an applicant’s criminal record. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides that use of these types of information for the purpose of influencing a job decision could constitute a violation of the law, according to Title VII of the act. Companies are prohibited from discriminating against job applicants on the basis of their race, national origin, religion, or any other protected category under Title VII. Employers are not allowed to adopt procedures or policies that screen applicants based on criminal history information if doing so would not aid in determining whether or not the applicant would be a reliable worker. If it significantly harms those who are Title VII protected, it is also prohibited. When businesses have outside firms conduct background checks on prospective employees, they are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). To do so, employers need the applicant’s written permission and must inform them in writing if they plan to reject them because of the information in the report.

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