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February 14, 2019

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Letter C: Co-Workers With Criminal Records? Your Workforce May Be More Open-Minded Than You Think

Letter C is coming at you with a double-punch: Are employees comfortable with their Co-workers having Criminal records?  At least one survey indicates that the answer is yes.

A recent survey commissioned in part by the Society for Human Resource Management finds that a majority of workers say they are willing to work with individuals with criminal records.  The survey aptly notes that, as unemployment continues to decrease, individuals with criminal records might serve as a previously overlooked labor pool.  The survey also found that managers are similarly willing to work with those who have criminal records, with just over half of managers reporting they are so willing.

These findings are certainly interesting given the EEOC’s crackdown on employer’s use of criminal background information in the hiring process.  As a quick refresher, the EEOC prohibits the use of blanket rules that automatically disqualify applicants for certain criminal records. Employers are advised to take a case-by-case approach and to consider the length of time that has passed since the conviction, the relatedness of the conviction to the job position, and the nature and gravity of the criminal conduct. 

In following the above process, employers may be able to identify qualified candidates well-suited for the position despite a prior criminal conviction.  And, at least as one survey shows, the existing workforce might be on board with those new hires. 

On to Letter D…



About this Author

Jackie S. Gessner, Barnes Thornburg, Indianapolis, Labor Disputes Lawyer, Employment Litigation attorney, ADA

Jackie Gessner is an associate in the Indianapolis office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, where she is a member of the firm’s Labor and Employment Law Department.

Prior to joining Barnes & Thornburg full time, Ms. Gessner was a summer associate and a legislative intern in the firm’s Indianapolis office. She also served as a pro bono legal clerk in the Criminal Appellate Division of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General.

Upon graduating with a B.A. from Purdue University, Ms. Gessner interned with the Indiana...