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The Criminal Justice and Employment Initiative (CJEI) provides criminal records and employment law training to job seekers who have been involved in the criminal legal system, assists employers in rethinking their approach to hiring, engages in research to study reentry practices, and influences policy makers and legislators on criminal justice reform.

Employer Best Practices

Photo of skyscrapers by Floriane Vita on Unsplash

Employer Best Practices

Accurate background checks: Denying a job to a qualified applicant due to inaccuracies in a criminal background check negatively impacts the applicant and the employer.

Employers should work with Credit Reporting Agencies (CRA) that follow these best practices:

  • They’re certified by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners. For more information see:
  • THey confirm all information with original criminal justice source.
  • They use full name and at least one other personal identifier before reporting a criminal record.
  • They reports all charges from a single incident as a single entry.
  • They remove dismissed, or sealed dispositions.
  • They regularly  notify employers with updated information on the disposition of relevant cases.

Fair interview process: Employers and recruitment professionals can review and plan their interview process to make sure all applicants have an equal opportunity to demonstrate they are the best candidates for the positions.

Employers should implement a fair interview process by following these practices:

  • Eliminate policies and practices that automatically disqualify applicants based on criminal records.
  • Ask only job-related questions during the job interview.
  • Obtain applicants’ permission before requesting a background check.
  • Keep information about criminal records confidential.
  • Provide applicants the opportunity to explain mitigating circumstances related to the offense or conduct.
  • Consider only job-related convictions in the hiring process.
  • Provide the applicant with an opportunity to review and challenge the CRA report.
  • Consider applicants’ efforts at rehabilitation and positive change.

Non-discriminatory hiring process: Comprehensive training for HR staff and a transparent process can help an employer objectively assess qualifications of justice-impacted individuals.

Employers can improve the hiring process by:

  • Providing anti-discrimination and implicit bias training to HR staff to ensure fair screening
  • Setting clear objectives for recruitment efforts
  • Conducting regular audits to determine whether criminal record screening policies are having an adverse impact on Black and Latinx job applicants
  • Implementing standardized selection procedures for use by HR staff
  • Instructing HR staff to consider Certificates of Relief from Disabilities (CRD) and Certificates of Good Conduct as proof of rehabilitation

Coordinate with Workforce Development programs: These programs provide support to employers and justice-impacted employees to promote on the job success.

Workforce Development programs help businesses ensure that workers get the assistance they need such as:

  • Transportation to work at no cost to the employer
  • Interpersonal communication, organizational skills, and leadership training
  • High school equivalency courses
  • Case management for employees with criminal histories
  • Advice for employers on how to apply for tax credits and subsidies