As Michael Vick Returns to NFL, Employment Lawyers Push Criminal Records Checks

Jason Morris

899934724_403d0f83caWill the Philadelphia Eagles do a background check on their new quarterback, Michael Vick?  What is the NFL’s policy on allowing ex-convicts to play in their league?  Well we know the penalty is pretty severe for Brown’s receiver Donte’ Stallworth as we was just suspended for the 2009 season for killing a pedestrian and only serving 24 days in jail.  The NFL has an image problem, I don’t think Vick’s situation is helping much.  We have written before about professional football players, including a humorous take on Chad “OchoCinco” Johnson.  Law.com has an interesting take on the Vick situation:

As Michael Vick Returns to NFL, Employment Lawyers Push Criminal Records Checks

Michael Vick’s reinstatement into the National Football League is creating a lot of buzz in the employment law arena, where companies seek advice about using criminal records to make somewhat lower-profile job decisions. Employment lawyers say the case serves as a timely reminder to employers to review how they can obtain employee criminal records and how they can use them in hiring and firing decisions.

The Vick case — in which the NFL on July 27 conditionally reinstated the quarterback after he served 18 months in prison on dogfighting charges — is unusual in that his criminal record was widely reported in the media.

“They didn’t have to run to the courthouse to know what happened with Michael Vick, in which case the NFL was free and clear to take appropriate disciplinary action based on that information,” said management-side attorney H. Andrew Matzkin of Boston-based Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo. But that’s not how it typically works.

Employers must take care to obtain information about criminal records “in a lawful way and use it in a lawful way,” said Matzkin, who noted he is seeing an uptick in calls from clients asking how they too can use background checks. “If we’ve got somebody who is doing stuff we don’t like outside of work, can we ask them about it? Can we find a way to see what they’re doing? And if we don’t like it, can we let them go?” said Matzkin, listing some of his clients’ questions.

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Jason Morris

President & Chief Operating Officer at EmployeeScreenIQ
A veteran screening and risk management professional, Jason Morris founded EmployeeScreenIQ in 1999 and acts as the company’s chief operating officer and president. Morris is a frequent speaker delivering captivating, interactive discussions on background checks, global screening, recruitment and staffing. He educates audiences in best practice initiatives as they relate to organizational employment screening programs. Morris has been quoted in numerous business and industry publications including The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, USA Today, New York Times, among others. He is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.
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  • If an accused individual doesn’t have the financial means to afford a criminal defense lawyer, the court will appoint an attorney to represent them. Often these attorneys are employed by the court and are known as public defenders.

  • History is written by the victors. – Winston Churchill