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What You Should Know About Interviewing Applicants with a Criminal Record Part 1

To fill their labor gap needs, some construction firms are turning to alternative methods to recruit workers. In some cases, this includes recruiting individuals that were previously incarcerated. Along with meeting your labor needs and giving these individuals an opportunity to contribute to society, some construction firms have enjoyed reduced turnover by giving these applicants a chance. Some states also offer construction firms tax advantages for hiring newly released individuals from the prison system. 

Although there are benefits to working with prisoner reentry programs, there can also be some liability issues for employers that fail to closely follow laws related to interviewing ex-convicts for positions. Employers need to always be mindful of the laws in their state to ensure they are in compliance. Consult a Sarasota construction attorney for all of your employment law needs, including laws related to the interview process for hiring ex-felons. 

Do You Work in a “Ban-the-Box” State?

There are currently 35 states across the country that have adopted legislature known as the “Ban-the-Box” rules and restrictions. Although Florida is not one of them, neighboring states Georgia and Louisiana have recently adopted this law. The law’s purpose is to nix employers’ ability to require applicants to check off a box detailing their criminal history when they apply. Further, employers subject to this law cannot ask any questions related to the applicant’s criminal history during the applicancy period. 

This means that, until offered the position, the applicant doesn’t have to acknowledge their criminal past to a potential employer. Although “Ban-the-Box” laws strictly pertain to hiring practices in the public sector, this approach has gained momentum in the private sector recently as well. Legislature is rapidly changing to accommodate “fair chance” hiring laws across the nation, so it’s critical that construction firms consult an attorney to ensure that they are caught up to speed on the most recent changes to state legislature to ensure they are complying with these laws. 

Discussing Criminal History During Applicancy

Although many states have recently changed their legislature regarding an employer’s right to ask an applicant about their criminal history, even in “Ban-the-Box” states, employers still retain their right to ask a candidate about felony convictions before officially hiring them. With that being said, flat out rejecting a candidate because they have a criminal record can have legal consequences. In some cases, rejecting an applicant based off of their criminal record could be considered a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s Title VII. 

In the second part of this article, our Sarasota construction lawyers will provide employers with some legal advice related to the hiring of ex-convicts. 

If you would like to speak with our Sarasota construction attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.