/ Asked by Latricia
I am writing a research paper for school and I also work performing job development activities for individuals. Some of my clients have criminal histories, and this has been a major problem with finding employment for them. Do employers often fear hiring someone with a criminal history? If so, why?
Answered by Mike, Hiring Expert at Avery Dennison Corporation, on Sunday, December 7, 2014
This is a really tough topic for many employers.  It really depends on the particular crime and it's relevancy to the particular job opportunity.  As an employer, hiring someone with a criminal background could open up a level of risk and liability that could put the employer at risk.  

For example, say an employer had a position for an outside sales rep that required a lot of travel by car.  Employers might not hire someone based upon a poor driving record, as it could put the employer at risk in the event that person gets in an accident on the job and causes harm to others.  If the employer ignored or failed to do their research on someone's background, it could open up the possibility of significant litigation.  

Typically, employers look at criminal history on a case by case basis based upon the position.  What is important is that the applicant is open and honest up front in the process.  If there is a surprise at the end of the recruiting process, it is often more of a deal-breaker than if it is brought up at the beginning.  

Hope this helps.

Mike 
Answered by Dana, Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup, on Thursday, December 11, 2014
Some employers do have internal policies about what kinds of convictions they will permit within their workforce, and what kinds of convictions will prevent a candidate from potentially being hired. This is determined in accordance with any applicable employment laws, and usually upheld under the guidance of the company's own HR and Legal teams.

To my knowledge, the decision regarding what kinds of criminal backgrounds are considered acceptable is often based on perceived risk, and whether or not an employee will be in a work environment with specific responsibilities that could be negatively impacted (i.e. a potential risky hire). It also may depend on whether or not the conviction will prevent the person from fulfilling the necessary job duties (e.g. a suspended license would keep someone from driving a company vehicle). 

See my previous Jobipedia response below, for more information and examples!

http://www.jobipedia.org/Questions/Conversation/In-terms-of-background-checks-is-there-a-reason-so-many-employers-refuse-to-hire-a-person-with-a-felony-regardless-of-the-circumstances-of-the-crime-committed
Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on Friday, January 9, 2015
For most employers, it is an issue of liability.  For example, if a company has a position open that requires someone to drive a vehicle, that company is likely not going to be interested in someone with a history of driving under the influence or reckless driving.  This would place that company at risk, so they avoid these situations.  Another example would be for someone who has been convicted of theft.  If they are being considered for a job in which they would would have access to company funds or other assets, the company would generally shy away from them because of the associated risk.

What generally causes the most issues for people with a criminal history is that candidate's failure to disclose their history to a potential employer.  There are many cases when someoene goes through the interview process and is offered a job, only to have that job offer rescinded because something comes up on their background check that they did not disclose to the company.  Even if it is something minor that is not related to the job, the fact that they did not disclose it creates a bigger issue because they are falsifying their background.   
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