Apple Bans Ex-Offenders from Building Site

Jennifer Gladstone

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site_workersIt’s no secret that privacy is one of Apple’s top priorities. Just try to get a look at the “next big thing” and see how far you get! The press, competitors… everyone is kept at more than arms-length. But do the people laying the concrete and rebar for their new office space pose some kind of threat? Someone seems to think so.

Back in January several construction workers who were busy working on the exterior walls of Apple’s new campus were told to turn in their badges and leave. They were told they were losing their jobs because of felony convictions on their records.

The San Francisco Chronicle says construction companies gave them documents that indicate that anyone with a past felony conviction or a pending felony charge is not allowed to work on the Apple site. Union representatives wrote letters to Apple’s CEO and the State Attorney General but have not received any response.

Apple’s broad-stroke firing raises questions on several levels. First, it runs counter to the fact that construction tends to be an industry that is friendly to people trying to rebuild after run-ins with the law. Secondly, San Francisco passed a Ban the Box ordinance that went into effect in August of 2014. The ordinance applies to city contractors, funded housing providers and private businesses with more than 20 employees.

Regardless of their reasoning, Apple’s actions run afoul of basic best practices for using background screening for hiring purposes. Some of the most important recommendations are as follows:

-      Ask if the conviction is relevant to the job. It might not matter if a prospective school bus driver has a record for bouncing checks, but it would be relevant if the applicant wanted to be your CFO.

-      Look at how much time has passed since the conviction. One run-in with the law a decade ago shouldn’t carry the same weight as problems still working their way through the courts.

-      Consider who the person is today. Do they have a job, good references, are they supporting their family? People change and these signs of rehabilitation can help when making hiring decisions.

-      If a background check reveals something that will keep you from making a job offer you must follow all Adverse Action steps laid out by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Your screening partner can be one of your best resources when it comes to creating your program.

As for the Apple situation, the union is still waiting for a response to its letters.  The representatives say they do not plan to file a grievance or take legal action.

A Best Practice Guide for Selecting a Background Screening Partner

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Jennifer Gladstone

Posted By: Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.

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