As we all know, in order to work in the cannabis industry, it requires a criminal background check before anyone can seek employment most of the time at a retail dispensary (or even own businesses in most cases).
Yet, most respondents to a recent survey said they’d feel comfortable working with or buying goods or services from employees who have nonviolent criminal records so we need to put some humanity in HR practices for the cannabis industry.
But that sentiment changes drastically if fellow employees have violent criminal records, one way HR professionals and hiring managers might ease discomfort about working with someone who has a violent criminal record is to understand the nature of the crime, reported by the Charles Koch Institute.
For instance, getting into a bar fight that resulted in only minor injuries, which could be considered a violent offense, is a lot different from murdering someone. Each situation should be viewed independently regarding these and potentially other factors. There is not a clear-cut answer to whether an organization should hire someone with a criminal background for a position.
It depends on a number of factors, including the type of job and the job duties – whether public facing, phone operator, machine operator, et cetera – and the industry – some of which have compliance-related issues like the cannabis industry – the type of crime committed, the length of time since the crime was committed, employment history since the crime was committed, and more.
Someone with a recent violent criminal history may not be considered for a customer-facing retail or restaurant position but may be considered for remote telework or data-entry work. Likewise, someone with a violent criminal history committed 20 years ago, but who has had significant employment experience since without incident, may be considered for a job in finance, whereas someone with financial crimes and no violent criminal activity may not.
Colleagues Who Have Criminal Records
The survey of 1,003 people in the United States was conducted and almost 3 in 4 respondents said they’d feel comfortable working for an employer if some of their colleagues have nonviolent criminal records.
However, only 1 in 3 said they’d feel comfortable working for an employer if some of their colleagues had violent criminal records. Sixty percent said they’d feel uncomfortable, and the remainder said they didn’t know how they’d feel but having training such as Active Shooter Action Plan training helps.
How Customers Feel
Similarly, about 3 in 4 said they’d feel comfortable buying goods or services from businesses if the customer-facing employee had a nonviolent criminal record. And just over half said they’d still feel comfortable doing so if the customer-facing employee had spent five or more years in prison.
When asked how they’d feel about employees who’d been in prison, those surveyed weren’t told if the person serving prison time had committed a violent or nonviolent crime.
But again, only about 1 in 3 said they’d feel comfortable buying goods or services from businesses if the customer-facing employee had a violent criminal record. Sixty-three (64%) percent said they’d feel uncomfortable, while the rest said they didn’t know how they’d feel.
Cannabis Industry Company Policies
About 3 in 4 respondents said they’d feel comfortable working for an employer that’s known to hire those with criminal records. But only 1 in 5 who are currently employed said they believed that their own organization hires people with criminal records.
This is to be expected, as many employees are not aware of their employer’s policies on different hiring and managing practices.
Getting Talent Back to Work
In late January, the Getting Talent Back to Work initiative announced, which includes such co-sponsors as the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurant Association and Koch Industries.
Associations and companies representing more than 60 percent of the United States workforce signed the Getting Talent Back to Work pledge, agreeing to change their recruiting practices to include qualified people with criminal backgrounds. This is a group we, as business leaders, cannot afford to overlook, as 1 in 3 adults in the United States currently has a criminal background.
Not only is it the right thing to do – to give a deserving person a second chance – but it is becoming imperative as businesses continue to experience recruiting difficulty at an alarming rate. According to a recent research study found that:
- More than 8 in 10 hiring managers say workers with a criminal background are high-quality hires – equal to or even more effective than those without criminal histories.
- About 3 in 4 hiring managers say there’s extreme value in hiring those with criminal histories, in part because it costs relatively little to recruit and hire them, they represent a diverse pool of talent, and there’s intrinsic social value in giving people a second chance at employment.
Let us know what you think.