Does Fifth Circuit ruling allow employers to discriminate against ex-felons?

A criminal record will ruin your chances of getting hired!

Or will it?

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, blanket bans on hiring employees with criminal records are not allowed as they target minority groups to a disproportionate degree. Thus, many states, counties, and cities created laws and regulations called “ban the box” laws which require the removal of criminal history questions from job applications. In addition, in multiple states, criminal convictions can only be reported within seven years from the date of disposition, release, or parole.

These laws and regulations are designed to create more equal opportunities for people with minor offenses on their record to give them a chance at a clean-slate kind of future. Assuming that the potential hire’s ability to perform job duties in a particular position would not be affected by their specific conviction, employers are not allowed to consider the conviction as a factor in their hiring. Thus, if you are an employer involved in the process of hiring, it is important that you know the laws of your state regarding criminal background checks.

The state of Texas challenged this EEOC guidance, saying some jobs would be unsuitable for certain types of ex-felons—for example, hiring a past shoplifter as a cashier. The Fifth Circuit sided with Texas.

This decision does not change much in the everyday world of most employers looking to hire. Officially, the decision only impacts the state of Texas. Employers should still evaluate applicants’ criminal records on a case-by-case basis.

While employee screening is essential when hiring new employees, it isn’t simply about making the most effective workplace. It is also largely about looking out for the safety of every person involved in the company. This is why such laws and regulations can become confusing for employers, employees, and clients.

At ClearStar we’re committed to helping you screen your business safely and securely. Contact us today to find a package that will work for you.

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