Feb 25, 2016 04:22 AM EST

What If The Job Applicant Has A Criminal Record?

Inmates (foreground) meet business professionals in a training session for a job interview during the 'Week of Employment' in the Rhône-Alpes region at the La Talaudière prison near Saint-Etienne, central France, on October 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo : Getty Images)

Some employers are reluctant to entertain job applicants with criminal records especially if they will be involved in selling to and entertaining customers. This is a legitimate concern since a company can be criminally liable if it has not made due diligence in the screening of its employees.

This is a ticklish matter since the law protects the rights of the job seeker who has a previous criminal record. A company could be liable to discriminatory charges if it rejects a job applicant just for his criminal record.

So what will you do if it so happens that this problem suddenly falls on your lap? At first, you were elated that the job applicant is just the right fit for your job opening. But then you learned later that he has a previous criminal record.

You have to understand that in this country, when it comes to job hiring, there are 40 cities, several counties, and two states that have existing laws which limit the rights of employers to consider the criminal records of a job applicant.  

Before you can disqualify a job applicant with previous criminal record, you are required by the law to prove that the reason is "job related and consistent with business necessity."

To be able to adhere to this principle, the courts in some states and counties require employers to consider the following:

1. The nature of the job that is supposed to be filled up by the applicant.

2. The length of time that has passed since he was convicted.

3. The nature and gravity of his criminal offense.

The main thing is to consider his conviction with an open mind. Not all convicted criminals are the same. There are reformed convicts and there are recidivists.

If his offense is unimportant and irrelevant to the job vacancy, then you can look at his other qualifications if he is really fitted for the job. But don't let it influence your decision and reject him even if you find that he is the best applicant for the job. You'll be liable for a discriminatory charge if you do so.

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