As more states pass laws limiting employer inquiries into salary history and criminal background, companies that hire nationwide will find that a one-size-fits-all approach to job recruitment can be problematic.
How should I discuss salary history during an interview?
Traditionally, asking a candidate about his or her current salary has been an efficient way to make sure you both have the same compensation expectations. This practice, while still acceptable in the majority of the United States, is becoming more legally perilous. Fourteen states, Puerto Rico and nine other local jurisdictions, including New York City, have passed laws restricting how and if employers can ask about a candidate’s salary history.
The good news is that there are still safe, effective ways to navigate the subject of salary in an interview. It’s perfectly acceptable, for instance, to ask a candidate about his or her compensation expectations. Employers should consult with their legal counsel to determine the best approach to stay compliant with expanding salary history bans.
Know when and how you can run a background check for employment
Prudent employers want to make sure the candidates they hire won’t negatively impact their business or existing employees. That means criminal history checks have become an almost universally accepted hiring practice.
There are few, if any, laws that restrict whether employers can screen a candidate’s criminal history. However, an increasing number of states and local jurisdictions have passed Ban the Box and Fair Chance laws, which limit when and sometimes how employers can run a background check for employment.
Ban the Box arose from a movement to remove the checkbox on employment applications that ask about a candidate’s criminal history. These laws may also require employers to wait until a candidate has been interviewed and/or made a conditional offer before inquiring about his or her criminal history.
Using existing guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Fair Chance laws state that employers should evaluate if a candidate’s criminal history is relevant to the job before disqualifying him or her. This practice is often referred to as an individualized assessment. If employers make a preliminary or final decision not to hire applicants based on their criminal history, some Fair Chance laws mandate that they provide additional notification. Employers may need to give candidates a copy of their individualized assessment or let them know which part of their criminal background was the basis for their disqualification.
Criminal background check regulations, which are becoming more common, will continue to affect the many aspects of hiring and employment. In fact, according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), nearly two-thirds of the United States population already lives in a jurisdiction with some form of Ban the Box law. Employers should review their recruiting practices and policies with legal counsel to make sure they remain compliant.