How the Sealing of Some Criminal Records Could Impact Contractor Background Screening
Background Screening |December 30, 2022
With our experience conducting contractor background screening, a recent trend we have seen coming out of the desire to better support individuals with criminal histories is the sealing and expungement of criminal records. A bipartisan movement started in 2014 called the “Clean Slate” is behind many of these legislative changes. The initiative calls for the automatic sealing or clearing of certain offenses from public records, provided the individual meets certain requirements such as a period of time with no additional criminal convictions, and uses technology to enable this process.
Laws on contractor background screening vary by jurisdiction and may include various waiting times, differences in the types of records eligible for expungement i.e., felony or misdemeanor records only, and whether any restitution must be paid. Even with these variations, the process is more automated and created such that the individual will no longer have to petition the court for this clearance. At this time, federal crimes cannot be expunged or sealed.
What is a Sealed Record?
A sealed record is not visible to the public, but it does still exist and can be available to individuals within law enforcement by way of a court order.
What is an Expunged Record?
An expunged criminal record is when an arrest or conviction record is cleared or completely removed from an individual’s criminal history and will no longer be accessible with a records search.
The benefits of a program such as this include:
Supports families and personal responsibility by allowing individuals to seek gainful employment and support their family stability
Facilitates workforce development by not creating unnecessary barriers to employment for individuals
Eliminates excessive regulations and government interference by automating the record-clearing process
Creates accountability with the individual by providing them a point of redemption and the ability to move beyond their criminal past
A great deal of risk to an organization’s brand and reputation comes from utilizing a network of independent contractors to provide complete and skilled services. Organizations can manage this risk by conducting background screenings for their independent contractors. PlusOne Solutions helps companies that use independent contractors for In-Home Service Networks to create a safer working environment and protect them from financial, legal, operational, and reputational risks. One of the ways we do this is by facilitating background screening reports.
While the details of the legislative changes may vary by jurisdiction, the effect it has on reporting within the background screening industry is the same. A sealed or expunged criminal record would no longer be available to report inside a background screening report. This means that a previously reported conviction may no longer be available for reporting in a rescreen, or subsequent report, or a record that is “known” may not be located or reported at all. The ability to report is determined by the jurisdiction and is not based on what any individual consumer reporting agency (CRA), like PlusOne, can negotiate or access. This restriction on the record would be the same for any CRA completing the background check for your organization.
When reporting criminal records, it is important to respect the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) guidance which encourages organizations who utilize criminal records to consider each situation and consider the nature and gravity of the offense, length of time since the offense occurred, and relevance to the role being considered.
As an accredited CRA, PlusOne Solutions follows strict guidelines that ensure we adhere to high stands of excellence, accountability, and professionalism. We stay informed of changes affecting contractor background screening like the one discussed here to ensure we provide accurate and complete background screening reports that adhere to all mandated laws and regulations.
A complete and compliant background check process is a key risk mitigation tool easily accessible to organizations of all sizes. PlusOne Solutions strives to make contractor compliance easy for your organization and is a ready and able partner to join you on that journey.
Contents are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Users are reminded to seek legal counsel with respect to their obligations and use of PlusOne Solutions services.
About PlusOne Solutions
PlusOne Solutions has been an industry leader in the risk management field by specializing in compliance programs that meet the complex challenges of geographically dispersed contractors, vendors, and employee networks. PlusOne Solutions protects companies from possible financial, legal, and reputational risks associated with contractorand vendor relationships while creating safer work environments. To learn more, visit https://www.PlusOneSolutions.net.
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