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Business Insights for Women
PNC INSIGHTS Magazine Spring/Summer 2014 Issue
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It's time to update your procedure for criminal background checks

If you perform criminal background checks on potential employees, know that last spring the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated enforcement guidance on how you can use those records when making employment decisions. While the guidance doesn't prohibit the background checks outright, it does suggest that if implemented improperly or inconsistently, they may violate Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Here are a few tips for making sure that your organization doesn't run afoul of the regulations:

Update Your Policies and Procedures

Begin by reviewing and revising your written policies involving criminal background checks. If you don't have a written policy, now is the time to create one.

  • Draft job descriptions that outline essential functions and requirements, as well as how each job is performed.
  • Clearly identify specific criminal offenses that may demonstrate unfitness for each position (for example, embezzlement or other financial malfeasance for a position holding fiduciary responsibility).
  • Remove language that does not draw a direct connection between specific criminal behavior and fitness for a given position. The EEOC guidance specifically prohibits excluding candidates simply because they have criminal records.

Conduct an Individualized Assessment

The EEOC requires that employers offer everyone with a criminal record in conflict with job requirements the opportunity to explain the circumstances surrounding the crime and their fitness for employment. Among the areas an assessment might explore:

  • The facts surrounding the offense
  • The number of offenses and convictions
  • Evidence that the individual was employed after conviction in the same or similar position with no further convictions
  • Employment and character references regarding fitness for the position
  • Whether the person is bonded under a federal, state or local bonding program

Maintain Confidentiality

Keep information about the interview and criminal records confidential and limited to management individuals who have a need to know.

To read the complete EEOC guidance, visit:


The article you read was prepared for general information purposes by McMurry. These articles are for general information purposes only and are not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. PNC urges its customers to do independent research and to consult with financial and legal professionals before making any financial decisions.These articles may provide reference to Internet sites as a convenience to our readers. While PNC endeavors to provide resources that are reputable and safe, we cannot be held responsible for the information, products, or services obtained on such sites and will not be liable for any damages arising from your access to such sites. The content, accuracy, opinions expressed, and links provided by these resources are not investigated, verified, monitored or endorsed by PNC.