Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has written an advocacy letter to President Barack Obama on behalf of more than 100 organizations and individuals that both commends the administration’s “commitment to reducing barriers to employment for people with arrest and conviction records” but also asks “for additional action that extends ban the box and fair chance hiring to the nation’s government contractors.”
A portion letter reads as follows: The administration’s November 2, 2015, initiative applying “ban the box” to the federal hiring process and the White House Fair Chance Business Pledge announced on April 11 have set the baseline standards for the nation’s private employers to follow. While more private employers are voluntarily embracing fair chance hiring, there is no adequate substitute for requiring the 170,000 federal contractors that employ nearly 25 percent of the nation’s workforce to adopt ban the box in return for the $700 billion they receive to provide taxpayer-subsidized goods and services.
According to the letter, because most large federal contractors operate across state lines they are already subject to multiple state and local ban the box laws that have fair hiring mandates in place: As a result, roughly 25 percent of the nation’s civilian workforce (or over 40 million workers) are employed in a state or locality where private sector employers are obligated to comply with a ban the box law. Thus, abundant precedent exists to help pave the way for a federal executive order regulating the nation’s private contractors.
However, with a limited window of opportunity for passage of the Fair Chance Act (S. 2021/H.R. 3470) remaining before the current presidential term ends, the letter urges President Obama issue an Executive Order to ban the box and “ensure that federal contractors do their part to eliminate unnecessary and discriminatory barriers to employment for the 70 million people in this country with criminal records.” To view the letter, visit http://civilrightsdocs.info/pdf/policy/letters/2016/WH-FederalContracts-Final-Letter-Logos.pdf.
As reported earlier on the ESR News Blog, several major American corporations including Coca-Cola, Facebook, and Starbucks have joined President Obama as the founding members in signing the Fair Chance Business Pledge that asks all of the U.S. private sector to ban the box on employment applications in order to eliminate barriers to job seekers with a criminal record, according to a White House Fact Sheet.
Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) supports fair and informed ban the box legislation to help reformed ex-offenders re-enter the workforce. ESR offers a Ban the Box Information Page with links to news and resources about the Ban the Box movement. ESR has also released a complimentary whitepaper entitled “Ten Critical Steps for Ex-Offenders to Get Back into the Workforce” to help job applicants with criminal records rebuild their lives and re-enter society through gainful employment. For more information about ESR, visit https://www.esrcheck.com.
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