Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
On March 1, 2019, a “Ban the Box” ordinance takes effect in New Orleans, Louisiana and will prohibit the City and City contractors from asking about the criminal history of potential employees on initial job applications, according to a press release from the New Orleans City Council.
New Orleans Ban the Box Ordinance
As reported earlier by ESR News, the Council passed the Ban the Box ordinance authored by District “C” Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer on October 18, 2018. The March 1 effective date gave New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration time to inform contractors and train employees.
“Ex-offenders should not serve a life sentence after serving time in prison. This new policy allows them a chance to be considered for employment based on their qualifications and experience related to the position they’re applying for and not their past,” Councilmember Palmer stated in the press release.
In 2014, New Orleans enacted a similar Ban the Box policy for classified and unclassified jobs in all City departments, boards, agencies, and commissions. Councilmember Palmer’s ordinance codifies this policy and extends it to all entities with a City contract, grant, or cooperative endeavor agreement.
New Orleans will still conduct criminal background checks on all candidates and make final hiring decisions for people with records using relevant information such as experience, the seriousness of any past conviction, when the incident took place, and what has occurred in the applicant’s life since then.
“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 March 2019, more than 150 cities and counties as well as 33 states have passed Ban the Box laws in America. Louisiana passed a Ban the Box law that took effect August 1, 2016, and affects some state applications. Cities with Ban the Box laws in Louisiana include New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
Do Ban the Box laws work? A study entitled “Ban the Box, Convictions, and Public Sector Employment” released in January of 2017 found that public sector Ban the Box policies increased the odds of public sector employment of ex-offenders with criminal convictions by nearly 40 percent.
Ban the Box laws that help ex-offenders find work are pervasive enough for studies to show whether fair chance rules are effective and this trend was chosen by global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) as one of the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2019.
ESR Ban the Box Resource Page
Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) offers employers a Ban the Box Resource Page the contains complimentary whitepapers, infographics, and an interactive map updated with the latest Ban the Box laws. 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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