Leading Retailer TARGET Removes Criminal Record History From Applications

Target headquarters recently announced that their applications will no longer include a section asking applicants to list their criminal record history. The criminal history section will be removed from Target store applications nationwide over the course of the coming year.

Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, said, "Target is finally doing the right thing by reforming its hiring policies so that qualified job applicants aren't automatically screened out simply because they have an arrest or conviction from the past."

How important is Pre-employment screening? Does a criminal record matter?

As a private investigator who specializes in professional pre-employment screening services, including complete background checks and national criminal background checks, I have mixed feelings about this decision. On one hand, I agree that employees should never be automatically disqualified from a job position if they have a criminal record. And, in fact, I think it is in employer's best interests to give a qualified candidate a second chance. People with previous criminal records can have a nearly impossible time getting a job. The employer who takes a chance can wind up with a hardworking and loyal employee for years to come.

That being said, there are situations where a national criminal background check is a critical component in ensuring the safety of your clients, your family, or yourself. Examples of this include :

  • Hiring a caregiver. With the ever-increasing incidences of elder abuse, we feel it's imperative that caregivers are screened thoroughly. In fact, we feel it is worth it to run your own complete background check on caregivers, even if the agency claims it was already done. Not all background checks are created equal and we can catch things that large-scale background check companies might not.
  • Hiring a Nanny or daycare provider. Parents should always run a thorough criminal background check on nannys, daycare providers, athletic coaches, or anyone who will have unsupervised access to their children. Pedophilia is a compulsion and most criminal sex offenders who use children as targets will strike again.
  • Home maintenance technicians. It is worth it to ensure the company you use for home maintenance and service repairs run background checks on their employees run background checks on their employees. These service providers often have unsupervised access to your home, which means your personal belongings and sensitive information are at their disposal.

Misdemeanors "In" - Felonies "Out"

The reason why Target's move is a good one is that the large majority of applicants with a criminal record have petty misdemeanors that have nothing to do with whether or not they will be a good employee. For this reason, we hope that Target's move will assist well-meaning people, who have made a mistake in their past, become employed in order to pursue a brighter future.

In the meantime, employers can always ask an employee in an interview if they have had a felony count on their record. If a national criminal background check proves otherwise, that employee can be terminated if the felony is such that it puts the employer or their customers at risk.

What do you think about Target's new policy? Do you think pre-employment screening, including a national criminal background check, is unwarranted or unjustified? We are interested to read your comments.

Mike Garroutte is a licensed Los Angeles Private Investigator and owner of Linked Investigations. His pre-employment screening services, including complete background check services, have helped to prevent employee turnover and promote safety in the workplace. Please contact us for a free consultation. 877-464-5374 or email us: info@linkedinvestigations.com

Published on: 
November 1, 2013
Tagged as:
Get a Free Consultation

Related Articles