Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
Beginning January 1, 2015, St. Petersburg, Florida will Ban the Box on job applications for the city that asks applicants if they have a criminal record, according to a report on SaintPetersBlog.com available at http://www.saintpetersblog.com/archives/163633. Continue reading
A “Ban the Box” bill approved by the Minnesota House – SF 523 – would prevent private employers in the state from asking about the criminal history of job applicants until an interview or a conditional job offer. The bill has now been presented to Governor Mark Dayton for his signature, according to a report from the Star Tribune available at http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/206699841.html. Continue reading
New legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives – H.R. 6220, “Ban the Box Act of 2012” – would prohibit most employers from asking about or checking a job applicant’s criminal record until after a conditional offer of employment and would “ban the box” that job applicants are asked to mark indicating whether they have a criminal record. Introduced by Representative Hansen Clarke (D-MI), H.R. 6220 would allow employers to check an applicant’s criminal record only if the job duties in question “may involve an unreasonable risk to the safety of specific individuals or to the general public.” The text of the bill is available here: H.R. 6220, “Ban the Box Act of 2012”. Continue reading
Employers have become increasingly aware of the importance of knowing if an applicant has a criminal record. Employers have a legal duty to make reasonable inquiries about who they hire, and to provide a safe workplace. An employer who hires a person with a criminal record can be found liable for negligent hiring where the hiring decision results in harm, and it could have been avoided by a simple criminal record check. Checking criminal records demonstrates Due Diligence and is also an important preventative measure to protect against workplace violence. One of the most effective tools an employer has is the use of an application form in the hiring process. An application enables an employer to directly ask an applicant if they have a criminal record The advantage is that an employer can use a well worded application form to discourage applicants with something to hide, and to encourage applicants to be open and honest. Unfortunately, many employers use language in their applications that is either to narrow, too broad or too ambiguous. Each of these mistakes can put an employer in difficulty.
For details on these three mistakes and language for employment applications, see: http://www.esrcheck.com/articles/crime_and_employment_application.php