Q. We're going back and forth on this question: On an employment application, can we legally ask about an applicant's prior conviction record or arrest record? —T.F., Nevada
A. This is a common employer mistake. As a general rule, when making hiring decisions, you can consider a prospective employee's criminal history record only if it includes convictions. You should not take into account criminal charges and arrests that didn't result in convictions. So on applications and in interviews, you should ask only about convictions, not arrests.
Also, the EEOC suggests that employers look at the nature and gravity of the conviction, how long ago it happened and whether the offense relates to the job being applied for.
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