Employing the Formerly Incarcerated: A Global Perspective

Second-chance employment, though popular in the United States, depends on a country’s background check laws, data-privacy laws and laws banning discrimination on the basis of conviction history, according to Darren Gardner, an attorney with Seyfarth Shaw, San Francisco. Employers in Canada can obtain criminal background checks on job applicants by meeting required criteria; in Europe the focus is on protecting an individual’s data, thus limiting criminal background checks; and in Hong Kong, an employer must first receive consent to conduct a criminal background check on a job applicant. Many other countries, such as Australia and France, observe the concept of “spent” convictions, which protects employees and potential recruits from having to disclose old convictions.

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