New gov't guidance on employee background checks

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government is issuing new guidelines that could make it tougher for employers to screen out job applicants using criminal background checks.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says the move is an effort to rein in practices that can limit job opportunities for blacks and Hispanics with higher arrest and conviction rates than whites.

The new standard urges employers to give applicants a chance to explain a report of past criminal misconduct before they are rejected outright. It also recommends that employers stop asking about past convictions on job applications.

But some employers say the new policy could make it more cumbersome and expensive to conduct background checks. Companies see the checks as a way to keep workers and customers safe, weed out unsavory workers and prevent negligent hiring claims.


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