Determine When to Conduct a Criminal Background Check on a Job Applicant

Key Points

  • Criminal background checks can be a useful tool for certain hiring situations and may be mandatory for some jobs, such as childcare workers. An employer that fails to conduct a criminal background check could leave itself open to a negligent hiring lawsuit.
  • Be aware, however, that many states and municipalities limit the use of arrest and conviction records by employers during the recruiting and selection process. It is important for an employer to be aware of the requirements in each state in which it operates before conducting a background check.
  • Using arrests and conviction information when making an employment decision may expose an employer to a discrimination claim if such information is not job-related or consistent with the business necessity.

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