NRF: Most Retailers Rely on Background Checks

By Carlton Purvis

Supporters of eliminating initial questions about criminal history, also called “banning the box,” because of the box on application forms that ask if a person has ever been convicted of a crime, say removing the question would allow a person a fair chance at proving that they are the best person for the job.

LaRocca says the question is a necessary part of keeping customers safe. “A criminal history is not a scarlet letter for retail employment--in fact, retailers are able to overlook certain convictions based on position--but businesses need to understand who they are hiring right off the bat,” he said.

“A convicted burglar shouldn’t be delivering pizzas to people’s homes and a person with multiple DUI convictions is not who you would want driving thousands of miles in a company vehicle. Understanding a potential employee’s prior work experience, education, customer service skills and criminal history helps retailers make intelligent hiring decisions for the ambassadors of their company brand and the safety of their customers.”

The survey didn’t include data for how many of the companies had rejected potential employees because of information found during a background check.

Cleveland on Monday became the most recent city on a growing list of areas that have chosen to “ban the box.”

“By removing this question, applicants can be sure they will not be automatically excluded from consideration for a job because of their past mistakes,” Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said in a press release.

The EEOC could issue a decision as early as this month.

photo by Senator Mark Warner/flickr




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