Kansas Governor Issues Executive Order to Ban the Box on State Employment Applications

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On May 2, 2018, Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer issued Executive Order 18-12 to “Ban the Box” on state employment practices and instruct Executive Branch departments, agencies, boards, and commissions to ensure that job applicants are not asked about their criminal record during the initial stage of a state employment application, according to a media release from the Office of the Governor’s website.

The executive order notes that ex-offender with criminal records experience obstacles when trying to rejoin society, such as automatically being disqualified as job applicants. The Ban the Box initiative allows ex-offenders to explain their facts and circumstances to potential employers while still allowing employers to ask about criminal background in later stages of the process. The executive order states:

  • Within ninety (90) days of the date of this order, all Executive Branch departments, agencies, boards, and commissions under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Governor shall take action to ensure that, during the initial stage of a state employment application, job applicants shall not be asked whether they have a criminal record, and a criminal record shall not automatically disqualify an applicant from receiving an interview.
  • This Order shall not apply when a criminal history would render an applicant ineligible for a position. In particular, if any law or regulation prohibits a person from holding a job due to prior criminal conduct, it is permissible to inquire about an applicant’s criminal record during the initial stage of a state employment application and an applicant may be disqualified from further review for this reason.
  • Nothing in this Order shall prevent the conduct of a criminal background check as a condition of employment.
  • This Order is intended to supplement existing laws and regulations concerning State of Kansas employment practices, and shall not be interpreted to in any way diminish such laws and regulations. The Order is not intended to create any new right or benefit enforceable against the State of Kansas.

The order does not prevent employers from conducting criminal background checks or from excluding such applicants if a law or regulation prohibits those with criminal records from holding that specific position. This document shall be filed with the Secretary of State as Executive Order No. 18-12 and shall become effective immediately. The 90-day period will be completed by August 1, 2018.

“Studies have shown that gainful employment is a major factor in reducing recidivism rate among former offenders. This is simply about treating people as individuals and allowing them to explain their circumstances at a later point in the process,” Governor Colyer said in the media release. The executive order is at https://governor.kansas.gov/executive-order-18-12-criminal-history-and-state-employment-practices.

“Ban the Box” is a movement seeking to advance job opportunities for people with prior criminal convictions by eliminating any inquiry into the criminal history of candidates on job applications –  specifically the check box that requires candidates to disclose their criminal history – and delaying such questions until later in the hiring process after their skills, knowledge, and abilities are revealed.

As of May 2018, 32 states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin – have passed Ban the Box laws.

ESR Ban the Box Resource Page

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider – offers employers a Ban the Box Resource Page with complimentary whitepapers, infographics, and an interactive map updated with the latest Ban the Box laws for states, counties, and cities in America. The Ban the Box Resource Page is at www.esrcheck.com/Legislative-Compliance/Ban-the-Box/.

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

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