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Opinions on Second Chance Hiring Change as Disparate Impact Laws Affecting Hiring Remain in the Headlines; States


Increasingly, laws across the country affecting the use of criminal history reports in pre-employment background screening have become more stringent and specific, such as a new law in California, just as attitudes regarding "second chance" hiring or hiring individuals with a criminal past have softened. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of offers an opinion: "For the past several years legislative bodies at Federal, State and City levels have initiated laws protecting individuals against disparate impact in hiring just as opinions regarding hiring ex-convicts has changed, and yet the urgent need for hiring managers to work with third-party pre-employment background screening companies to ensure full compliance remains."

Waltham, MA (PRWEB) April 17, 2017

California recently enacted one of the more specific and rigorous laws protecting against employment applicants for potential disparate impact, just as the opinion over the hiring of ex-cons has softened. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of states: "Now, more than ever, is the time to stay fully diligent regarding hiring policies and the use of criminal records as part of the pre-employment background check, as laws protecting against disparate impact will continue to remain in the headlines for the foreseeable future."

Long a leader in protectionist law, California has recently enacted new rules protecting individuals for potential disparate impact.

Key to the California law is the specific use of criminal records as part of a pre-employment background check.

From (Apr. 05, 17):

Considering criminal records when making employment decisions has long been the subject of scrutiny, and will soon be governed by new California regulations. On March 27, 2017, the California Office of Administrative Law approved several amendments to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). They include adding a section (Section 11017.1) that effectively establishes the standard of proof for claims by applicants and employees that employment decisions based upon criminal records create an adverse impact on protected classes in violation of the FEHA. The amendments will take effect on July 1, 2017.

Section 11017.1 adopts the EEOC's definition of "disparate impact" to define adverse impact. But unlike the EEOC guidance, it authorizes using "state-or national-level statistics" (rather than employer-specific recruiting records) to create an adverse impact presumption. An employer may rebut this presumption only by showing a "reason to expect a markedly different result" than an adverse impact, after accounting for factors specific to the area or job. (1)

Almeida states: "The new California law is evidence of a continuing evolution to laws protecting against disparate impact. As these laws continue to change and evolve it is critical that hiring managers work with a third-party employment screening agency in order to maintain compliance with current law as well as stay ahead of the curve on any potential new law."

As new laws are enacted there appears to be a softening of attitude towards the hiring of ex-convicts and those individuals that may be subject to disparate impact.

From, a Connecticut newspaper that conducted a local survey regarding the hiring of ex-offenders (Mar. 21, 17):

A newly released survey of Connecticut employers found strong support for efforts to give ex-offenders a second chance.

The survey of 311 employers found that 95 percent of respondents agreed that hiring previously incarcerated individuals can help turn them into productive members of society. The poll, conducted by Harris Poll for the Malta Justice Initiative between June and October of 2016, was released this week. (2)

Almeida states: "The rise of laws protecting individuals for disparate impact in hiring has contributed to the softening of attitudes toward the hiring of ex-convicts. But it is important to remember that new law only changes when and where criminal background checks can be conducted. These laws will continue to evolve over time and it is very important that all employers immediately understand their current hiring policies and ensure full compliance by working with a third-party pre-employment background screening company." is a third-party background screening company with highly trained operators well versed in the needs and requirements of companies and organizations large and small utilizing public records, such as criminal records, as part of a hiring process. Assisting companies in maintaining full compliance under the law is a central tenet of all client relationships with



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