What to Do When an Employee is Listed as a Registered Sex Offender

registered sex offender

As an employer, you may have to make a difficult decision.

Occasionally, an employer will find out that one of their employees is a registered sex offender. It’s difficult to know what to do in this situation. An employer walks the fine line between providing a safe workplace and refraining from considering an employee’s criminal history. Many states impose limitations on an employer’s ability to take adverse action for an employee’s criminal history. However, oftentimes when coworkers discover that one of their peers is a registered sex offender, they will demand that you take action. This can be a tricky situation for an employer to navigate. Here are a few things you can do if you find yourself in this situation.

Pre-Hire Diligence

It’s a good rule of thumb to do thorough background checks on prospective hires to avoid finding yourself in this situation in the first place. You can also ask hiring candidates on applications if they’ve ever been convicted of a felony, and, if so, to disclose the details. However, this is a less reliable way to gauge the reliability of a prospective hire. Paying for a background check is a tried-and-true method of learning all the vital information about your hiring candidates.

Interim Action

If you have already hired an employee who you have suddenly discovered is on a sex offender registry, then there are a few options open to you. One is to work with legal counsel to affirm the accusations. Then, assess the capacity in which the employee works and whether or not this new information makes them unfit for the position.

Independently Gather and Assess Information

First address the risk in the short term. If your employee is working in customer service, for instance, perhaps move them to a different position where they will not have direct customer contact. Working with your legal counsel, determine what legal obligations and limitations you will be held to. Some employers are restricted by the Fair Credit Reporting Act from firing an employee based on felony conviction. Thoroughly review your employee’s job responsibilities and work environment to determine if an action is necessary.

Take Appropriate Action

After your investigation is completed, you are free to take action based on your decision. There are some cases where the employee is clearly unsuited for their responsibilities. However, there are many more cases where this determination is less clear, and it’s best to err on the side of caution and defend your decision.


AIR Pre-Hire in Reisterstown, MD, conducts accurate and verified universal background screening, so you will have thorough background checks on your employees. Here at AIR Pre-Hire we don’t simply check the basic information, we dig deep to identify inconsistencies and make sure your potential employees (as well as existing employees) are acceptable for hire. This is the human element of our custom pre-screening service. You can count on us for timely, verified pre-screening and employee re-screening.

Learn more by visiting our website www.air-prehire.com or calling us at 1-800-469-4473. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest as well.

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