Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
The state of Utah has joined the so-called “Ban the Box” movement to delay any questions by government employers about the criminal records of job applicants applying for state employment in order to give ex-offenders a fair chance to find work after release from prison, according to a report by the U.S. News & World Report. (UPDATE: The Indiana General Assembly has passed Indiana Senate Bill 312 that prohibits local governments in Indiana from adopting “Ban the Box” ordinances that interfere with an employer’s ability to obtain or use criminal history information during the hiring process to the extent allowed by state or federal law. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has said he will sign the bill, which takes effect on July 1, 2017.)
U.S. News reports job applicants will not have to disclose any criminal records before some job interviews under Utah House Bill 156 (HB 156), the Ban the Box law which will take effect May 9, 2017. Government employers cannot exclude applicants convicted of a crime from getting a job interview and they cannot ask applicants about criminal records before an interview.
Under HB 156, employers cannot ask about criminal records until a conditional job offer if there is no interview. The Ban the Box law will not apply to government jobs in law enforcement, criminal or juvenile justice, work with children or vulnerable adults, government agencies handling finances, State Tax Commission, and state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
The Indianapolis Star reports Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb will “issue an executive order barring the state’s executive office from including on job applications questions concerning an applicant’s criminal background” after pledging to sign Indiana Senate Bill 312 which would have preempted cities and local governments from passing their own Ban the Box legislation.
Governor Holcomb said the executive order would Ban the Box on state job applications and push any questions about criminal history of job applicants back to the job interview portion of the hiring process. The executive order will make Indiana the 27th state in the U.S. to Ban the Box for state employees and the order would only apply to public sector employees.
Ban the Box is spreading in states. Besides Utah and Indiana, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin have passed Ban the Box laws.
“Ban the Box” refers to removing the box on job applications that applicants are asked to check if they have past criminal records. Ban the Box supporters seek to delay criminal history questions so ex-offenders are first judged by their knowledge, skills, and abilities. To read more ESR News blogs about Ban the Box, visit www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/ban-the-box/.
ESR Ban the Box Information Page
Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a global background check provider – supports sensible Ban the Box legislation and offers employers a Ban the Box Information Page with news and legal updates about states, cities and counties, and resources with Ban the Box. To view the ESR Ban the Box Information Page, visit www.esrcheck.com/Ban-the-Box/.
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