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ban the box

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On May 5, 2017, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that a Fair Chance Hiring Policy for state agencies will “Ban the Box” and remove criminal history questions from non-civil service employment applications for agencies under his jurisdiction, according to a news story on the Governor’s website.

The new Ban the Box Policy will take effect July 1, 2017 for non-civil service job applicants. The Office of Administration will provide guidance and training to agencies prior to the implementation of the Ban the Box policy, and anticipates that the policy will be applied to civil service applicants by December 2017.

The Ban the Box policy “will allow prospective applicants with criminal records to be judged on their skills and qualifications and not solely on their criminal history, while preserving a hiring agency’s ability to appropriately screen applicants as part of the hiring process,” Governor Wolf said in the news story.

The Ban the Box Policy states the “Secretary of the Office of Administration hereby establishes, and Commonwealth agencies shall implement and maintain, a fair-chance hiring policy that removes the criminal history question from the commonwealth’s employment application, based on the following:

  • Consideration of arrests not leading to a conviction; annulled, expunged, or pardoned convictions; convictions for summary offenses; and convictions that do not relate to an applicant’s suitability for Commonwealth employment is prohibited.
  • In making hiring decisions, the hiring entity shall consider the public interest of ensuring access to employment for individuals with criminal records.
  • This HR Policy shall not affect positions in which a criminal conviction makes an applicant ineligible under law.
  • This HR Policy also shall not apply to employment positions responsible for the safeguarding or security of people or property, law enforcement, or those involving contact with vulnerable populations.
  • All departments, agencies, boards, commissions, and councils shall utilize the online job application system as required by ITPBUS008. No department, agency, board, commission, or council shall utilize its own job application form or questionnaire, unless such form or questionnaire is approved by the Secretary of the Office of Administration.”

Pennsylvania agencies will continue to use the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Guidance in determining whether the criminal history of applicants affects their candidacy for the position they are seeking. To view the Ban the Box policy, visit

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania policies, including Executive Orders, Management Directives, IT Policies, and HR Policies are published on the Office of Administration’s public portal. The news story is available at

“Ban the Box” refers to removing the box on job applications that applicants must check if they have past criminal records to delay such questions so ex-offenders are first judged by their knowledge, skills, and abilities. To read more about Ban the Box, visit

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin also have Ban the Box laws.

ESR Ban the Box Information Page

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a global background check provider – supports sensible Ban the Box legislation. ESR offers employers a Ban the Box Information Page that contains news and legal updates about statescities and counties, and resources available at

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.

© 2017 Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – Making copies or using of any part of the ESR News Blog or ESR website for any purpose other than your own personal use is prohibited unless written authorization is first obtained from ESR.

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