Michigan Joins Ban the Box Movement and Removes Criminal History Question from State Job Applications

Ban the Box

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On September 7, 2018, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed an executive directive instructing all state departments and agencies to “Ban the Box” and remove the felony question box that precedes job applications on NEOGOV – the website where residents can apply for state employment – and replace it with an affirmation of good character statement starting on October 1, 2018, according to a press release on Michigan.gov.

Governor Snyder also announced the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has removed the checkbox reading “Were you convicted of a felony?” in occupational and construction code licensing applications. He is encouraging private employers to follow suit by removing the felony box from job applications or to later in the hiring process and several businesses have a Ban the Box approach.

“The continuation of Michigan’s comeback depends on all populations and communities being part of our success,” Governor Snyder stated in the press release. “We have to keep working to reduce barriers to employment, and by modernizing our system to move outside the box, we can offer second chances to many residents who are ready to work and already trained for the exact jobs that employers are desperate to fill.”

In addition, LARA and the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) signed a memorandum of Understanding allowing MDOC to determine if a Vocational Village candidate meets good moral character licensing determination, before going through the program. The removal of the felony question from the licensing process will allow for other trades to be taught at the Vocational Village.

In March 2018, Governor Snyder also signed Senate Bill 353 to expand the Local Government Labor Regulatory Limitation Act to prohibit a local government body from regulating what information employers would have to request, require, or exclude during the interview process for employees or potential employees. The bill also took effect on October 1, 2018, and is now Public Act (PA) 84 of 2018.

“Ban the Box” is a growing nationwide movement that seeks 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. As of October 2018, more than 150 cities and counties and more than 30 states have passed Ban the Box laws.

States that have passed Ban the Box laws in America include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The fact that employers must comply with a myriad of overlapping local and statewide Ban the Box laws in the United States is one of the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2018 as selected by leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR). A complete list of the trends is at www.esrcheck.com/Tools-Resources/ESR-Top-Ten-Background-Check-Trends/.

ESR also offers a white paper entitled “Ban the Box Now More than the Exception for Employers when Screening” and the “ESR Ban the Box Resource Guide for States, Counties & Cities” that gives an up to date list of states, counties, and cities in the U.S. with Ban the Box laws. The extensive ESR White Paper Library is available at www.esrcheck.com/Tools-Resources/Whitepaper-Library/.

ESR Ban the Box Resource Page

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) is not your typical screening firm and does not intend to become one. ESR 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 ESR 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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