Posts Tagged ‘hiring ex-offenders’

New Texas Law Limits Liability for Employers Hiring Applicants with Criminal Backgrounds

From the legal team at Haynes and Boone, LLP:

Many employers are wary of hiring applicants with criminal records because they fear exposing themselves to potential negligent hiring or negligent supervision claims, but they also have concerns imposed by the EEOC’s aggressive interpretation of Title VII that a blanket rule against hiring persons with criminal convictions is a violation of the law. To address these conflicting concerns, as well as to increase public safety, decrease recidivism and allow job seekers with criminal records to become self-sufficient, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed H.B. 1188 on June 14, 2013. The new law amends the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Codes so that “a cause of action may not be brought against an employer, general contractor, premises owner, or 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.”

However, H.B. 1188 does not preclude all causes of action for negligent hiring or negligent supervision. Rather, the law includes exceptions allowing a plaintiff to bring a claim if the employer knew or should have known the employee was convicted of one of the following offenses:

  • An offense “that was committed while performing duties substantially similar to those reasonably expected to be performed in the employment, or under conditions substantially similar to those reasonably expected to be encountered in the employment,” taking into consideration the factors listed in Texas Occupations Code sections 53.022 and 53.023(a)1;
  • “An offense listed in Section 3g, Article 41.12” of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which includes, for example, murder, aggravated robbery, and aggravated sexual assault; or
  • A “sexually violent offense.”

Employers may also face liability for negligent hiring and supervision claims “concerning the misuse of funds or property” if, “on the date the employee was hired, the employee had been convicted of a crime that includes fraud or the misuse of funds or property…and it was foreseeable that the position for which the employee was hired would involve discharging a fiduciary responsibility in the management of funds or property.”

H.B. 1188 goes into effect on September 1, 2013, and it will only affect causes of action which accrue after its effective date. While this statute provides some protection from negligent hiring or supervision claims, employers should continue to run background checks to determine whether an applicant is appropriate for a particular job.

Hire PEP GraduatesDespite the recession, PEP’s graduates have been able to demonstrate a 100% employment rate within 90 days of release. In fact, the average time “from prison to paycheck” was only 26 days in 2011!

Why do PEP graduates make excellent employees? Consider that they have all surpassed the following challenges through their participation in PEP:

  • Each year, PEP selects ONLY the top 200-250 participants from a pool of more than 2,000+ applications.
  • Before acceptance into our elite program, the men must complete an intense, 20+ page written application along with a grueling “character assessment” interview that is used to gauge their commitment to living a transformed life.
  • Once they have been accepted, the program involves:
    • 1,000+ hours of training from a college-level textbook on entrepreneurship
    • Developing a high-quality business plan that they can defend in a 30-minute presentation before a panel of “free world” executives
    • Toastmasters course . . . including over 120 personal presentations of their business plan
    • Hundreds more hours of homework, group activities, public events and more

In brief, these men have been challenged time and time again — and they have succeeded when many others would have quit.

This same level of discipline, focus and energy can be leveraged to build YOUR business. Plus, you are hiring someone who is HIGHLY MOTIVATED to excel in the job that you offer them. This is not a charity case, but something that is in your best interest.

To top it off — you can receive the following benefits as an employer of ex-offenders:

  1. Federal Tax Credit: The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) provides a federal tax credit of up to $2,400 per qualifying employee to businesses that hire individuals with criminal records.
  2. The Federal Bonding Program: This program protects businesses against employee theft or dishonesty by providing six months of coverage (ranging from $5,000 to $25,000) at NO COST to the job applicant or the employer. Better still, no paperwork is required on the part of the employer! See more at http://www.bonds4jobs.com/.

Hire a great employee… earn a tax credit… receive free bonding to protect you from employee dishonesty …. what are you waiting for??? Contact Nelson Duncan today at nduncan@pep.org to meet some great PEP graduates who can become your next great employees!