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The Risks of Hiring Felons (And Why The Benefits Outweigh Them)

April 21, 2020 | Staffing Blog

Of course there are many risks when it comes to hiring felons, and no one would judge an employer for hesitating to do so. But, despite those risks, did you know that there are also risks to not hiring them? So much so, that most would consider them to outweigh the risks of hiring. It’s also worth considering that a person can be a convicted felon for doing something less serious than those who haven’t been caught. You could easily hire someone without knowing their bad behavior, felon or not. With that, let’s take a look at those risks and benefits and see how you feel after learning both sides.

Two Sides of the Coin

There are two sides of the coin to consider here. When hiring an employee with a criminal record you could either:
Be at risk of negligent hiring by not performing a background check revealing exactly what laws this individual has broken.

B. Be at risk of excluding an applicant because of their criminal record and get in trouble for discrimination.

Excluding a felon from consideration for your current job opening could be considered discrimination due to the Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records within the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It’s important you understand all of the rules set in place under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act when handling cases such as these. Examples of the guidelines included are:

  • Employers shouldn’t ask about any convictions on job applications. Inquiries should be limited to convictions for which exclusion would be job-related for the position.
  • Employers should avoid making rules that exclude a set group of people, such as race or where they are from.
  • Employers should practice caution when excluding employees based on their criminal record, especially if the crime had nothing to do with the job.
  • Employers should consider all of the facts and circumstances of the conviction.

There are more guidelines to know than those listed above, and you will want to understand them fully before making any quick decisions when it comes to hiring (or not).

Benefits to Consider

In addition to these risks, you should also know that there are actually a handful of benefits to hiring felons. In fact, The National Hire Ex-Felons Campaign was literally designed to tell employers the benefits of doing so. Here are a few:

  1. The Department of Labor offers tax breaks for companies that hire felons through the Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program. This tax credit can apply to you if you hire “an individual who was convicted of a felony and who is hired not more than one year after the conviction or release from prison.”
  2. Many felons are on probation and have to be accountable to their Probation Officer for landing and holding onto their job. They will be grateful to you for giving them the opportunity, and work hard to keep their position so as not to violate their parole.
  3. When you consider how many ex-felons make up the American population, many major cities are made up of more ex-felons than not. The crimes many of these individuals make are based on not knowing any better due to growing up in bad neighborhoods or poor parenting. Employers have a hard enough time finding good enough employees without criminal records. Therefore, not employing ex-felons only makes things more difficult, when the individual could be the exact person you’re looking for.

We Can Give You Guidance

Staffing companies like Allegiance Staffing specialize in finding you employees that fit your staffing needs. We work closely with businesses to understand exactly what they are looking for. We also take care of all of the other headaches that come along with staffing. That includes background checks, discrimination laws, and why the benefits outweigh the risks of hiring felons. Because this is our specialty, we know it all. To learn more about our services and how we can help you build your ideal staff, reach out to our team here!