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Can You Ask Job Candidates About Their Criminal Records?

May 10, 2011, Volume 57, No. 33

Hiring officers, be aware: under a new Philadelphia law, you need to be very careful when it comes to asking job candidates about their criminal records.

The Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards Act, signed into law on April 13, prohibits Penn from asking criminal record questions during the employment application process and before the first interview. The new law goes into effect on July 12, 2011.

We’ve already modified Penn’s employment application to reflect this new law. It no longer asks applicants whether they’ve been convicted or pled guilty to a crime. Visit the Human Resources website at www.hr.upenn.edu/recruitment/recruitmentforms/upennapp.pdfto download the updated application.

It’s very important to remember that you must wait until after the first interview if you plan to ask candidates if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime.

Keep in mind this new law in no way eliminates background checks. Penn will continue to conduct background checks on the final, preferred candidates—a step that should be completed prior to you making the job offer. If the background check reveals that an applicant was convicted of a crime and may not be suitable for a particular job, Human Resources will notify and advise the hiring officer as necessary.

If you have questions about the new law or Penn’s hiring process, please contact your designated recruitment specialist or Human Resources at (215) 898-1307 or showell@upenn.edu. You can also visit the Human Resources website at www.hr.upenn.edu/recruitment/hiringofficer for more information.

—Division of Human Resources


Related: Concerning Faculty Hiring

Almanac - May 10, 2011, Volume 57, No. 33