Stuck in a Background Check Catch-22? Texas Has Your Back

Employers seem to be caught in an impossible catch-22 these days: run a background check on a job candidate and risk a potential discrimination lawsuit or forego this procedure and risk exposing the company to potential liability for negligent hiring or supervision. This is the position that the EEOC seems to be putting employers in by its aggressive interpretation of Title VII as prohibiting blanket rules against hiring applicants with criminal backgrounds. The Texas Legislature has taken an important step to help protect employers who are willing to give applicants with a criminal record a second chance. House Bill 1188 will limit the liability of employers who hire applicants with a criminal record. The new law provides that a “cause of action may not be brought against an employer, general contractor, premises owner, or other third party solely for negligently hiring or failing to adequately supervise an employee, based on evidence that the employee has been convicted of an offense.” HB 1188 will benefit both employers and those with criminal records who are seeking employment, who often have difficulty finding a job. While the new Texas law will ease many employers’ concerns of potential liability for hiring applicants with criminal records, it will not completely insulate employers from all claims of negligent hiring or supervision resulting from employment of such individuals.

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