Criminals In The Workplace

A recent New York Times article is shedding light on a startling statistic that employers should be aware of: nearly one-third of Americans are arrested for a crime before they turn 23.

Hiring managers know a criminal background check is the best way to determine the exact nature of the offense. After all, there is a distinct difference between someone who has been incarcerated on a warrant for failing to appear in court for a traffic violation and someone who was arrested for defrauding a former employer out of millions of dollars.

According to the article, criminal justice experts said the 30.2 percent figure was aided because employers, using online resources, routinely conduct criminal history screenings on job candidates.

A key fact not mentioned in the news story is that 37 percent of job seekers admit to falsifying their applications, underscoring the necessity to build a strong line of defense. An omission on an application can quickly be caught by a qualified screening company during a search of public records.

Some of the 30.2 percent of people arrested before their 23rd birthday were taken into custody for drug-related crimes, partly because of a more aggressive stance by authorities, the article says. Rigorous drug testing standards are needed especially when a job involves operating heavy machinery or driving thousands of miles in a company vehicle. Employers simply cannot take chances when it comes to maintaining a good reputation in the public eye. It’s also in their best interest – in terms of insurance costs and potential lawsuits – to keep a safe working environment.

Of course, an HR manager can overlook blemishes for those who are far beyond a brush with the law in college 20 years ago. But it’s those who were fired from their last job for committing a crime or booked on a felony charge within the past year that might be disqualified from the candidate pool.

Does your company have the right safeguards in place?

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