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SHRM responds to EEOC’s guidance on criminal background checks

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) issued this statement on guidance released April 25 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):

SHRM considers criminal background checks an appropriate tool to help employers make informed hiring decisions while ensuring the safety and well-being of their employees and customers.

We appreciate the bipartisan nature in which the guidance was developed. SHRM recognizes that the EEOC held hearings and met with stakeholder groups on the use of criminal background checks in hiring, but we continue to believe that a public comment period should have been part of the development of the guidance.

SHRM is pleased that the guidance does not appear to impose a one-size-fits-all set of rules on employers and seems to take into consideration that every employer will have different needs and concerns in the use of criminal background checks in hiring.

We look forward to reading the guidance in its entirety. However, SHRM remains concerned with the potential conflict between this federal guidance and state laws that require criminal background checks in some industries and for some positions. We will continue to work with the commission to address issues related to the use of criminal background checks in hiring.

SHRM has conducted national research that shows a majority of employers are thoughtful in the hiring process and follow practices consistent with law designed to prevent discrimination in hiring. SHRM research in 2006 and 2010 does not show an increase in the use of background criminal checks.

Source: Society for Human Resource Management; www.shrm.org.