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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has signed Executive Order NO. 03-15 to implement a ‘Ban the Box’ state hiring policy that removes questions about criminal records from the first part of job applications for state employment, according to a report at

“This is about giving those who have paid their debt to society a fair chance at a good job,” Governor Shumlin stated in the report on the Governor’s website. “Nobody wins when Vermonters are trapped in a cycle of unemployment and re-incarceration.”

The Ban the Box policy will prevent applicants from being immediately screened out of state jobs because of a criminal conviction. Vermont state agencies will continue to conduct background checks, but only after an applicant has otherwise been found qualified for the position.

The Ban the Box policy will not apply to law enforcement, corrections, or other sensitive positions. A number of states, including Virginia, Georgia, and Nebraska, as well as the District of Columbia, have taken similar actions to combat hiring discrimination against workers with criminal records.

According to research by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), more than 100 cities and counties have adopted Ban the Box policies. Major cities include: Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; and Washington, D.C.

Sixteen states have now adopted some form of Ban the Box policy: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.

A 2011 study by NELP titled “65 Million Need Not Apply” found that nearly 65 million people in the U.S. – more than one in four adults – were estimated to have criminal records. NELP has since revised that number up to approximately 70 million adults.

Governor Shumlin also highlighted progress of a bill, S.115, to expand Vermont’s expungement law that would make more Vermonters eligible to have criminal convictions removed from their records by a judge. The bill has passed the Senate and House and is in conference committee.

The bill will allow people to seek expungement after one year, instead of the typical ten-year waiting period, if their offense is for conduct that is no longer a crime, such as possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The House-passed version of the bill also allows those who were convicted when they were under 25 years old to seek expungement in five years if they have subsequently performed community or public service.

More Ban the Box Information from ESR

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’ – offers a Ban the Box Information Page with links to the latest news and resources about the Ban the Box movement. The page is at


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