Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
United States President Barack Obama will announce an Executive Order to Ban the Box and remove the question about the criminal history of applicants from the job applications for hiring by federal employers, according to “FACT SHEET: President Obama Announces New Actions to Promote Rehabilitation and Reintegration for the Formerly Incarcerated” on the WhiteHouse.gov website.
The FACT SHEET states that “more than 600,000 individuals are released from state and federal prisons” each year and that “advancing policies and programs that enable these men and women to put their lives back on track promotes not only justice and fairness, but also public safety.” One measure the President will announce to help promote this rehabilitation and reintegration is Ban the Box:
- Banning the Box in Federal Employment. The President has called on Congress to follow a growing number of states, cities, and private companies that have decided to “ban the box” on job applications. We are encouraged that Congress is considering bipartisan legislation that would “ban the box” for federal hiring and hiring by federal contractors. In the meantime, the President is directing the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to take action where it can by modifying its rules to delay inquiries into criminal history until later in the hiring process. While most agencies already have taken this step, this action will better ensure that applicants from all segments of society, including those with prior criminal histories, receive a fair opportunity to compete for Federal employment.
This Ban the Box Executive Order will only apply to federal employers, not federal contractors. As reported earlier on the ESR News Blog, bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress in September 2015 – The Fair Chance Act – would Ban the Box and prohibit federal contractors and federal agencies from asking about the criminal history of a job applicant until a conditional offer of employment is received.
Ban the Box is a nationwide campaign by civil rights groups aimed at removing the box applicants are asked to check on job applications if they have a criminal record. Currently, more than 100 cities and counties, 18 states, and companies such as Walmart, Target, Starbucks, and Home Depot have Ban the Box policies. For more information about Ban the Box, please visit www.esrcheck.com/Ban-the-Box/.
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