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Do background checks lead to employment discrimination?

It is possible that required background checks lead to employment discrimination? Florida readers know that it is not uncommon for employers to require all applicants to submit to a criminal background check. However, it is possible that this practice has actually led to employment discrimination in some situations.

There has been a recent change to the policy regarding these background checks, as determined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). These changes may require employers to re-think how they consider the results of these background checks when determining a person's employment potential. If a person has a criminal record, the employers are supposed to weigh state and federal regulations, along with workplace safety risks and possible dangers to other employees.

However, opponents to these changes say that the use of "common sense" by employers will be restrained and that the EEOC did not give guidelines regarding how to implement these changes. Criminal background checks are designed to prevent the hiring of potentially dangerous individuals. However, it is possible that some individuals could face unnecessary discrimination when seeking a job. Using the information from background checks is a delicate balance and it is not a perfect system, as illustrated by the potentially confusing policy from the EEOC.

There are many individuals with a record who may be capable and deserving of a chance to enter the workforce. If an individual has been the victim of employment discrimination, he or she has the right to explore legal options for a response. Technically, employers cannot practice certain forms of discrimination when considering applicants for any vacant position, but potential Florida employees may benefit from taking steps to ensure they know all of their rights.

Source: Business Insurance, "EEOC slammed over employee background check policy", Judy Greenwald, June 12, 2014

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