Monday, November 27, 2006

More Background Checks, More Diversity?

Santarejected_1 So says this new piece in the Journal of Law and Economics and highlighted today at  According to the article:

Employers that perform criminal background checks generally hire more black workers than employers that don't conduct background checks . . .

The study found that employers that check criminal backgrounds during the hiring process are 8.4 percentage points more likely to have hired a black applicant into their most recently filled position.

"The results are consistent with the proposition that in the absence of a criminal background check, employers use race to infer past criminal activity, especially employers with a strong stated aversion to hiring ex-offenders," write Harry J. Holzer (Georgetown Public Policy Institute), Steven Raphael (University of California, Berkeley), and Michael A. Stoll (University of California, Los Angeles).

It thus seems that doing background checks is a win-win situation.  Not only do such practices help to eliminate invidious discrimination from the application process and increase diversity, but such background checks, along with appropriate pre-employment screening tests, can decrease the incidence of both respondeat superior and negligent hiring or retention claims for employers.


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