Vermont Passes Ban the Box Law for Both State and Private Employers

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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has signed into law a bill – H.261 – that will “Ban the Box” and remove questions about criminal records from initial job applications for both state and private employment in Vermont, according to a press release on the Governor’s website.

The new Ban the Box law takes effect July 1, 2017, and will give applicants with criminal records a fair chance at decent jobs while reducing the risk of recidivism and incarceration. H.261 follows a 2015 Executive Order signed by Governor Shumlin to implement Ban the Box policies for state jobs.

“Banning the box is all about breaking down barriers and giving those Vermonters who have paid their debt to society a fair chance at finding a good job,” Governor Shumlin stated in the press release. “Nobody wins when Vermonters are trapped in a cycle of unemployment and incarceration.”

H.261 prohibits employers from asking questions about prior criminal convictions on job applications until the later stages of the hiring process. The Ban the Box law also provides exemptions for certain positions where criminal convictions automatically disqualify an applicant due to state or federal law.

A 2011 study called ‘65 Million Need Not Apply’ by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) estimated that nearly 65 million people in the United States – more than one in four U.S. adults – had a criminal record. NELP has since revised that number up to approximately 70 million U.S. adults.

The Ban the Box movement – named for the box on job applications that applicants are asked to check if they have a criminal record – is spreading rapidly across America and fast becoming a national standard. According to NELP, more than 100 cities and counties have Ban the Box laws.

U.S. states that have passed some form of Ban the Box legislation include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) supports fair and informed Ban the Box legislation and offers employers and Ban the Box Information Page with links to news and resources about the Ban the Box movement. For more Ban the Box information, visit www.esrcheck.com/Ban-the-Box/.

ESR also released a complimentary whitepaper – “Ten Critical Steps for Ex-Offenders to Get Back into the Workforce” – to help job applicants with criminal records reenter society that is available at www.esrcheck.com/Whitepapers/Ten-Steps-for-Ex-Offenders-to-Get-Back-in-Workforce/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this web site is for educational purposes only.

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