West Virginia’s ‘second chance’ law takes effect July 7

June 30, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by John R. Merinar, Jr.

The West Virginia Second Chance for Employment Act, which is aimed at encouraging employers to open the doors of opportunity to certain nonviolent criminal offenders, will become law on July 7.

The new law will allow individuals with certain criminal convictions the opportunity to petition the courts to change their records to show a reduction of their offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. The legislation also includes certain protections for employers that hire applicants with criminal convictions.

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Portland, Oregon, ‘ban the box’ ordinance takes effect July 1

June 20, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Cal Keith

Employers in Portland, Oregon, need to be ready for the city’s new “ban the box” ordinance, which takes effect July 1.

The state of Oregon’s ban-the-box law took effect January 1, but Portland’s ordinance goes further than the state law.

Portland’s ordinance applies to businesses that (1) employ six or more employees and (2) have at least one employee who spends most of her time working in the city. It does not apply to law enforcement jobs, the criminal justice system, volunteer positions, or jobs for which federal, state, or local law requires criminal history to be considered.

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New Tennessee law ‘bans the box’ for state government jobs

April 18, 2016 0 COMMENTS

Tennessee has joined the list of states passing some form of “ban the box” legislation with the passage of Senate Bill 2440. Governor Bill Haslam signed the measure on April 14.

Many states, counties, and cities across the country have joined the ban-the-box movement by prohibiting job applications that require applicants to check a box indicating whether they have a criminal record.

Tennessee’s law doesn’t affect private-sector employers. Instead, it prohibits state employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on the initial application. The law has an exception for (1) positions that require a criminal background check under federal law and (2) positions for which the commission of an offense is a disqualifying event for employment under federal or state law.

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New law ‘bans the box’ for public-sector employers in Ohio

March 10, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Leigh Anne Benedic

Ohio’s new ban-the-box law prohibiting public-sector employers from asking job applicants about criminal convictions early in the hiring process will take effect on March 23.

The law doesn’t apply to private-sector employers, but when it takes effect, state agencies and political subdivisions will be prohibited from including questions about a job applicant’s criminal background on any form or application.

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Broader ban-the-box law taking effect in Philadelphia

March 01, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Brittany E. McCabe

A more far-reaching version of Philadelphia’s ban-the-box law covering all employers in the city is set to take effect March 14.

On December 15, 2015, Mayor Michael Nutter signed an amended version of the city’s 2011 law that limits when employers can inquire about job applicants’ criminal background. Key changes include:

  • The new version applies to all public and private employers in the city with one or more employees. The old law covered only employers with at least 10 employees.
  • Employers must wait to make criminal record inquiries until after they extend a conditional offer of employment, not after a first interview as required by the original law.
  • Employers may consider only convictions that occurred in the last seven years, excluding any periods of incarceration. Previously, employers could look back as far as they chose.
  • Employers must consider specific factors when determining whether to reject an applicant based on his criminal record.
  • If an employer rejects an applicant based in whole or in part on a criminal record, it must notify the applicant of its decision and reason in writing and provide a copy of the criminal history report. Applicants will have 10 business days following the rejection to provide an explanation or evidence of inaccuracies in the report.
  • Applicants will have 300 calendar days after a rejection to file a complaint with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.
  • Employers must post a summary of the law’s requirements in a conspicuous place on their websites and in their premises.

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Time for Oregon employers to prepare for ‘ban the box’ law

December 07, 2015 0 COMMENTS

by Cal Keith

Oregon’s new “ban the box” law takes effect January 1, meaning employers will be prohibited from asking applicants to check a box inquiring about criminal history on employment applications.

The new law makes it unlawful to exclude an applicant from an initial interview solely because of a past criminal conviction. An applicant is unlawfully excluded if: read more…

Iowa expunged records law takes effect January 1

December 03, 2015 0 COMMENTS

by Tara Z. Hall

While not a true “ban the box” measure, a new Iowa law taking effect January 1 will allow exonerated individuals to keep past criminal charges from becoming known to potential employers.

The measure, signed into law last spring, sets up a process for individuals who have been wrongfully accused of a crime and have “not guilty” verdicts and dismissed criminal charges against them to have the records expunged and erased. Senate File 385 was initiated by individuals who were wrongfully accused of crimes and were concerned that the accusations would negatively affect their employment opportunities.

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New executive order expands ‘ban the box’ trend

November 03, 2015 0 COMMENTS

President Barack Obama’s plan to issue a “ban the box” Executive Order may not directly affect nonfederal government employers, but it continues a movement in both the public and private sectors against considering criminal history early in the hiring process. A White House fact sheet issued November 2, the same day Obama traveled to New Jersey to outline plans to help the formerly incarcerated, explains that the president is directing the federal Office of Personnel Management “to take action where it can by modifying its rules to delay inquiries into criminal history until later in the hiring process.”  Hand with pen and check boxes isolated on white background

The fact sheet says most federal agencies already have taken that step. It also notes that many states and cities have passed laws requiring employers to remove the job application section that asks if prospective employees have a criminal record. The fact sheet also notes that many private companies have decided on their own to delay asking about criminal history until later in the hiring process to make sure job seekers aren’t unnecessarily screened out before having a chance to explain their circumstances.

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Rochester ban-the-box law to take effect November 18

November 12, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Edward O. Sweeney

Rochester, New York, will become the latest city to restrict employers’ ability to ask applicants about their criminal history when its ban-the-box ordinance takes effect November 18.

Since many employers are hesitant to hire applicants with criminal histories, states and cities have begun passing laws that restrict employers from including a check box on applications requiring applicants to disclose arrests and convictions.

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