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Criminal history and the workplace: a pathway forward

Nicole C. Jones Young (Department of Business, Organizations and Society, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA)
Ann Marie Ryan (Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 25 June 2019

Issue publication date: 25 June 2019




The purpose of this paper is to summarize some of the key gaps in knowledge regarding the use of criminal records in employee selection and post-hire challenges that those with a criminal record may continue to face.


This paper is a general review and introduction to the special issue on criminal history and employment.


The authors suggest that understanding the “what,” “how,” “why” and “who” may provide researchers with increased clarity regarding the relevance and use of criminal records within the employee selection process.

Research limitations/implications

The authors encourage researchers to explore the management constructs and theories to understand how they may operate and affect this population upon entry into the workplace. Additionally, the authors discuss some of the methodological challenges and considerations related to conducting research on this population.


While researchers continue to seek and better understand the experiences of job seekers with criminal records and specific barriers to fulfilling work, there are many aspects of the pre- and post-employment experience that are not yet well examined. This paper provides a pathway forward for management researchers within the area of criminal history and employment, an understudied yet relevant topic.



There are no conflicts of interest as pertains to the manuscript. The authors would like to thank all contributing authors to the special issue.


Young, N.C.J. and Ryan, A.M. (2019), "Criminal history and the workplace: a pathway forward", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 38 No. 5, pp. 494-504.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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