Last week a press release from the New York Attorney General’s office raised some eyebrows about background screening practices—not an uncommon headline these days. According to the release “Four of the nation’s largest background check agencies” entered into an agreement with New York A.G. Eric T. Schneiderman concerning compliance with New York laws designed to protect job applicants from discrimination.
The agreement prohibits the firms from engaging in the automatic disqualification of applicants who have criminal backgrounds—something that we can all agree is a bad practice. Based on the information contained in the press release, the named companies were called out for sending automatic rejection letters to candidates with criminal records.
This settlement raises some interesting questions for employers concerning their background screening process. Who decides to reject a candidate who has a criminal record--the employer, or the background screening provider? How is the rejection handled--automatically, or after review and consideration? The answers can make a big difference in determining whether your process is legal or subject to litigation for violation of anti discrimination laws.
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