Nonprofit Webinar: Navigating the Road to National Accreditation

In late 2010, nonprofits earned more than $670 billion and employed more than 1 in 12 Americans. However, recent screenings have revealed that nonprofits don’t tend to hire employees with criminal backgrounds.

Whether intentional, or unintentional, only 5 percent of those who were screened by Lexis Nexus Risk Solutions had ever been involved in any kind of criminal activity. But more than 1-in-5 of those who had a criminal background had been convicted of serious charges, including drug-related offenses, sexually-based crimes, kidnapping, and murder.

Nearly 1,200 nonprofit employees who were given background checks during the study had been convicted of murder. There were also 600 kidnapping offenses included in the audit.

Every year, Lexis Nexus combines forces with thousands of nonprofit agencies across the United States to conduct background checks and gather information designed to better protect nonprofit organizations in the event of a bad, or worse, accidental, criminal hire.

New EEOC Guidance May Soon Change This

In April, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission approved new guidance on criminal background checks that requires all employers to individually assess whether an applicant’s past criminal conduct is job related or consistent with business necessity before throwing them out of the hiring pool.

For nonprofits who have encountered problems with employees whose criminal background prove not so distant, and for those who protect clients from criminals, the new rules will be jarring because the EEOC provides only 2 circumstances in which an employer can meet the “job related and consistent with business necessity” on a consistent basis. The first occurs when an employer is able to validate the criminal conduct screen for the position in question. This can only be done in accordance with the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures Standards if the data about the candidates’ criminal conduct, as related to their work performance, is available and can be validated.

The second, more time consuming and personal, option requires that a nonprofit employer must develop a targeted screen of all applicants considering the nature of their crimes, the time elapsed, and the nature of the job available. The employer must then provide applicants excluded by the screen the chance for an individual assessment to determine whether the policy, as-applied, is job related and consistent with business necessity.

The individual assessment would further require that the candidate is notified that they have been excluded from consideration because of a criminal conviction. According to the EEOC, the notice would have to include an opportunity for the screened candidate to demonstrate that the exclusion should not be applied based on the particulars of the candidates’ circumstances.

The employer must also consider their appeal with merit to the particular circumstances that are revealed during the consideration period.

What It All Means

Thankfully, the same study that found that only 5 percent of those employed by nonprofits have criminal backgrounds found that the number of nonprofit employees with criminal backgrounds has declined for five consecutive years, dropping from 7 percent in 2007 to 5.3 percent in both 2010 and 2011.

According to the study, which is called The Power of Positive Information, “The results… demonstrate that our background screening programs are working for nonprofits and underscore the importance of continued screening vigilance at nonprofits since nearly one-fourth of the records included in the audit were for serious offenses.”

More importantly, the study shares several best practices and program recommendations including:

  • Developing a standard screening policy that’s automated across locations to boost program efficiency and effectiveness
  • Volunteer rescreening, which keeps organizations updated about any evolving risk
  • Expanding minimum screening requirements to supplement a national criminal database search with a country-level search to enhance program strength.

To learn more about the study or how you can better improve the security of your nonprofit, visit http://www.lexisnexis.com/nonprofit for the full study.

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02/04/19 4:30 AM

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