Alcohol intoxication is something many adults have experienced in their lives. Even though alcohol is a drug, it is perfectly legal if used responsibly. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious crime that can lead to fatalities and injuries to innocent drivers on the road from an intoxicated driver. It is the highest form of irresponsibility for an adult to operate a vehicle when intoxicated, therefore, should a DWI conviction be used against an applicant for a job?
This is a complex question since the nature of a crime should be fairly weighed against the particulars of a job position. Those convicted of a crime can rehabilitate their past behaviors, yet there are serious questions to raise based on the duties of a particular position. For example, a DWI dismissed by a court of law may still show up on a background report; do you still factor those cases into a judgment?
Let’s explore the many variations of this question.
Applicant Lied on the Application
When it comes to background checks, these procedures are a great way to screen the character of applicants. If the applicant checks a box on the application that indicates that they have never been convicted of a crime, and it surfaces that they have in the screening, this is a problem. There is always an opportunity for being honest on the applicant’s part, a chance to explain the incident. If they lie outright, you cannot trust the applicant.
It can be said that a DWI conviction is likely embarrassing, yet a lie is not a great way to enter into an employment offer.
Length of Time Since Conviction
If you discover that a qualified applicant has been convicted of a DWI, there should be some concessions on your part to consider the length of time since the conviction. If a DWI is past 7 years, and there have been no further convictions since, it can be said that the applicant has rehabilitated themselves. The final judgment is entirely up to you, yet it should be remembered that bad behavior can be learned from in terms of driving while intoxicated.
This isn’t to say that one crime is less serious than the other; however, the passage of time with no repeat violations is a fair assessment to make on the applicant’s part.
Specific Details of the Conviction
If you discover a conviction for a DWI in a job applicant’s background screening, be sure to read the details of the conviction if available. Were people killed or injured? Are there multiple convictions of DWI? The more you know about the case, the bigger the picture you will have in figuring out the nature of the crime.
Does the DWI Conviction Relate to the Position?
Finally, be fair in judging if the DWI will directly correspond to the type of work the applicant will be doing. If people were harmed because of the crime, it is understandable to decline the job offer, yet the job-specific comparison is a fair process. For any job related to operating machinery or a vehicle, you are perfectly right in not wishing to take the risk. Having the applicant agree to random drug or alcohol screening is also a possibility.
A DWI is a serious crime; however, it is fair to consider if the nature of such a crime could ever interfere with the type of task the applicant will be performing. The final decision is completely yours to make. Be sure to listen to the applicant’s explanation closely when making a final decision.
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