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逮捕记录应该成为您犯罪背景调查的一部分吗?

犯罪背景调查几乎在雇主中变得普遍,它们提供关键信息以帮助组织管理潜在的招聘风险。根据2020 年专业背景筛选协会 (PBSA) 的一项研究,93% 的雇主使用国家犯罪数据库,85% 的雇主使用所有或部分候选人的州、县或地方资源。

除了查找定罪和刑事指控外,县、州或联邦一级的犯罪记录搜索还可以包括一系列重罪或轻罪的逮捕记录。然而,虽然逮捕记录可以帮助全面了解候选人的犯罪过去,但在某些情况下,您不应将其包括在犯罪背景调查中。

犯罪记录检查审查什么?

犯罪记录检查可帮助您了解任何可能对您的工作场所构成风险的候选人过去的行为。犯罪背景调查通常包括可追溯到七年前的信息,但在允许的州可能会更早地追溯。 

他们可以在一个人的背景中发现以下任何元素:

  • 重罪定罪

  • 轻罪定罪

  • 刑事指控

  • 性犯罪者名单登记

  • 逮捕记录 

  • 监禁记录

有许多不同的数据库和列表可以从中获取候选人的犯罪记录,但犯罪记录搜索不仅仅是从数据库中下载“命中”。全面的背景调查提供者了解,来自这些数据库和列表的任何逮捕、指控或定罪信息也必须通过主要来源进行验证,例如实际的法庭搜查此外,具有合规意识的筛查提供商会排除某些地区法律禁止的犯罪历史信息,例如已删除或少年记录。

许多类型的犯罪记录检查包括:

  • 县法院记录搜索:搜索县犯罪记录以查找至少过去七年的定罪或未决案件

  • CrimeSweep 状态数据库搜索:搜索基于状态的犯罪信息资源集合

  • 联邦法院记录搜索:搜索美国联邦地区法院文件中的重罪和轻罪记录

  • CrimeSweep 性犯罪者搜索:搜索从所有 50 个州和哥伦比亚特区的登记处以及几个部落土地登记处编制的数据库

  • CrimeSweep 全国搜索:搜索县、州和联邦实体的数据库聚合,以及监禁和执法记录

  • 指纹搜索:将候选指纹与犯罪指纹数据库进行交叉检查,包括在警察局被逮捕和登记的个人的指纹

为什么或为什么不包括逮捕记录?

当逮捕记录作为全面犯罪背景调查的一部分包含在内时,它们可以提供有关某人犯罪过去的一些必要背景。他们可以帮助您查看一个人是否因同一罪行多次被捕或多次被捕。 

但是,逮捕不同于定罪。就其本身而言,逮捕记录只能说明部分情况。以下是您在犯罪背景调查中不应仅依赖逮捕记录的众多原因:

1. 它可能是歧视性的。

虽然在候选人的全面背景调查中包含逮捕记录并没有错,但仅将逮捕记录用于做出雇佣决定可能会导致非法的、歧视性的招聘行为。根据平等就业机会委员会 (EEOC)的说法,与定罪记录不同,“基于逮捕的排除本身与工作无关,并且符合业务需要。” 

仅仅依靠逮捕记录可能会歧视少数族裔,甚至是更年轻的候选人。根据兰德公司的一项研究,26 岁以下的人比其他任何一代人更有可能有逮捕记录。

2.逮捕不等于犯罪行为。

逮捕并不意味着有罪。一个人可以因涉嫌犯罪而被捕,但可能没有犯罪。通过根据逮捕记录做出雇佣决定,您最终可能会从招聘过程中排除大量潜在的强大候选人。 

逮捕比你想象的更常见。根据量刑项目,三分之一的美国成年人在 23 岁之前被捕逮捕不一定是严重指控或定罪的先兆。被逮捕的候选人可能永远不会被指控或起诉,或者可能被指控但被认定无罪。根据美国犯罪调查,多达一半的联邦罪行从未被起诉,34% 的州重罪案件不会被定罪。

3.每次逮捕都是不同的。

正如逮捕可能永远不会导致指控或定罪一样,一些逮捕可能不够严重,不会引起雇主的关注。例如,候选人可能因您认为与该职位不太相关的非暴力犯罪而被捕,例如因公众抗议或轻微交通违规而被捕。候选人过去也有可能因不再被视为犯罪的活动而被捕,例如,在大麻合法化的州拥有大麻。 

4. 一些州禁止考虑就业逮捕记录。

尽管没有联邦法律禁止在招聘过程中使用逮捕记录,但有州和地方的“禁止框”法律对其进行限制一些州禁止雇主询问逮捕记录、未导致定罪的逮捕和/或已被删除、密封或解雇的逮捕。这些州包括加利福尼亚州、康涅狄格州、夏威夷州、马萨诸塞州和纽约州。

犯罪背景调查的最佳做法

有效地进行犯罪背景调查涉及的不仅仅是检查候选人过去犯罪历史的数据库和列表。您还可以采取一些具体行动来管理潜在风险并考虑犯罪记录结果是否符合法律规定。 

为获得始终如一的准确和全面的结果,请将以下最佳实践纳入您的背景筛查计划:

了解“禁盒”法律。

适用的“禁止框”法律告诉雇主在招聘过程中他们可以进行犯罪背景调查。这些法律还禁止一些雇主询问候选人是否曾被逮捕,并禁止在就业决定中使用逮捕记录。 

有几十个州法律和数百个县和市法律,在同一个州内有些不同。因此,您应该确保您的组织的犯罪背景调查活动符合您雇用地点的“禁止框”法律。  

制定犯罪背景调查政策。

为了建立一致性和公平性,请制定政策来指导您的背景筛选实践。您还应该说明您将考虑逮捕的工作类别,例如,与老年人、病人或儿童等弱势群体一起工作的职位。通过定期审查您的政策,您可以使其与筛选实践和合规要求保持一致。

与信誉良好的背景筛查提供商合作。

犯罪背景调查涉及许多用于验证和报告数据的数据源和方法。因此,您可以通过与拥有知识和专业知识的提供商合作来指导您的筛查活动,从而维持一个合规且有效的筛查计划。有一个优秀的筛选提供商作为您的合作伙伴,您可以自信地选择您需要的犯罪背景调查服务,并获得有关何时(以及何时不)在招聘决定中考虑逮捕候选人的指导。


2020 Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) study, 93 percent of employers use national criminal databases and 85 percent use state, county, or local sources for all or some candidates.

In addition to locating convictions and criminal charges, a criminal records search at the county, state, or federal level can also include arrest records for a range of felony or misdemeanor crimes. However, while arrest records can help to complete the picture of a candidate’s criminal past, there are several instances where you shouldn’t include them in your criminal background checks.

What Do Criminal Record Checks Review?

Criminal record checks help you understand any past candidate behaviors which could pose a risk to your workplace. Criminal background checks typically include information dating back seven years, but may go back further in states where it is permitted. 

They can uncover any of the following elements in a person’s background:

  • Felony convictions

  • Misdemeanor convictions

  • Criminal charges

  • Sex offender list registrations

  • Arrest records 

  • Incarceration records

There are many different databases and lists from which a candidate’s criminal records can be sourced, but a criminal records search is about more than downloading “hits” from a database. A thorough background screening provider understands that any arrest, charge, or conviction information sourced from these databases and lists must also be verified with a primary source, such as an actual court search. In addition, a compliance-minded screening provider excludes criminal history information prohibited by law in some locations, for example, expunged or juvenile records.

The many types of criminal record checks include:

  • County court records search: Searches county criminal records for convictions or pending cases from at least the past seven years

  • CrimeSweep state database search: Searches a state-based aggregate of criminal information resources

  • Federal court records search: Searches U.S. federal district court files for felony and misdemeanor records

  • CrimeSweep sex offender search: Searches a database compiled from registries in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as several tribal land registries

  • CrimeSweep national search: Searches an aggregate of databases for county, state, and federal entities, as well as incarceration and law enforcement records

  • Fingerprint search: Cross-checks candidate fingerprints against a database of criminal fingerprints, and includes fingerprints of individuals who have been arrested and booked at a police precinct

Why or Why Not Include Arrest Records?

When arrest records are included as part of a comprehensive criminal background check, they can provide some needed context about a person’s criminal past. They can help you see if a person had multiple arrests, or repeated arrests for the same crime. 

However, an arrest is different from a conviction. On its own, an arrest record only tells part of the story. Here are the many reasons why you shouldn’t rely solely on arrest records in criminal background checks:

1. It could be discriminatory.

While there’s nothing wrong with including arrest records in a candidate’s comprehensive background check, using arrest records solely to make an employment decision could lead to illegal, discriminatory hiring practices. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), unlike a conviction record, “an exclusion based on an arrest, in itself, is not job related and consistent with business necessity.” 

Relying solely on arrest records could discriminate against racial and ethnic minorities, and even younger candidates. People under the age of 26 are more likely to have an arrest record than any other generation, according to a RAND study.

2. An arrest is not the same as criminal conduct.

An arrest does not imply guilt. A person can be arrested on suspicion of a crime but may not have committed one. By basing an employment decision on an arrest record, you could end up excluding a significant number of potentially strong candidates from your hiring process. 

Arrests are more common than you might think. According to The Sentencing Project, one in three U.S. adults has been arrested by age 23. Arrests are not necessarily a precursor to a serious charge or conviction. A candidate who was arrested may never be charged or prosecuted, or may be charged but found innocent. According to Crime in America, up to half of federal crimes are never prosecuted, and 34 percent of state felony cases do not result in a conviction.

3. Every arrest is different.

Just as an arrest may never have resulted in a charge or conviction, some arrests may not be serious enough to cause concern for employers. For example, a candidate could have been arrested for a non-violent crime you may deem less relevant for the position, such as an arrest for public protest or a minor traffic violation. It is also possible a candidate could have a past arrest for activity which is no longer considered criminal, for example, possession of marijuana in a state where it has since been legalized. 

4. Some states forbid consideration of arrest records for employment.

Although there is no federal law prohibiting the use of arrest records in the hiring process, there are state and local “ban the box” laws restricting it. Some states prohibit employers from asking about arrest records, arrests not resulting in conviction, and/or arrests that have been expunged, sealed, or dismissed. Those states include California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New York.

Best Practices for Criminal Background Checks

Conducting criminal background checks effectively involves more than checking databases and lists for a candidate’s past criminal history. There are also specific actions you can take to manage potential risks and consider criminal records results in compliance with the law. 

For consistently accurate and thorough results, incorporate the following best practices into your background screening program:

Understand “ban the box” laws.

Applicable ”ban the box” laws tell employers when in the hiring process they can conduct a criminal background check. These laws also prevent some employers from asking candidates if they have ever been arrested, and prohibit the use of arrest records in employment decisions. 

There are dozens of state laws and hundreds of county and municipal laws, some differing within the same state. As a result, you should be sure your organization’s criminal background check activities comply with “ban the box” laws in the locations where you hire.  

Establish a policy for criminal background checks.

To establish consistency and fairness, set a policy to guide your background screening practices. You should also spell out the job categories where you will consider arrests, for example, positions working with vulnerable populations such as the elderly, the sick, or children. By reviewing your policy regularly, you can keep it aligned with screening practices and compliance requirements.

Work with a reputable background screening provider.

Criminal background checks involve many data sources and methods for verifying and reporting data. As a result, you can maintain a compliant and effective screening program by working with a provider who possesses the knowledge and expertise to guide your screening activities. With a great screening provider as your partner, you can confidently select the criminal background check services you need and receive guidance for when to (and when not to) consider candidate arrests in hiring decisions.


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