Posts Tagged ‘criminal convictions’

Rally Today at White House for ‘Ban-the-Box’; Supporters Want Exec Order on Criminal Queries

A planned rally today in front of the White House will urge President Obama to issue an executive order to ban federal agencies and contractors from requiring job applicants to answer whether they have ever been convicted of a crime.

Supporters say that checking this box on the job applications disqualifies many released prisoners (700,000 a year by some counts) from getting a job and reentering society as productive members.

Eighteen states, 100 counties, and major employers Starbucks, Walmart, Koch Industries, and Target already have banned the box, rally organizers say.

Rally organizers hope to build off of that momentum and put pressure on President Obama  to issue an executive order and presidential memo that will “ban the box” and implement fair hiring practices for jobs with federal employers and federal contractors.

Some 200 national organizations and 70 members of Congress also support “ban the box” laws, organizers said.

For more on the ban-the-box campaign, go here.

The fly in the ointment today could be thunderstorms that are forecast for most of the day in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

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D.C. Suburb Considering Law to Restrict Employers From Asking About Criminal Records

Employers would have to wait until after the initial interview to ask a job applicant whether he or she has a criminal record, under legislation that a large Washington, D.C. suburb is considering.

Prince George’s County–a suburb in Maryland east of the nation’s capital–could become the latest local government to pass “ban the box” legislation giving applicants with a criminal record a better shot at being hired.

Some 13 states and 60 local have instituted similar laws.

Under the law that the PG Council is considering, emergency management and public safety agencies would be exempt. The restrictions also would not apply to jobs that require care or services to minors or vulnerable adults. Employers also could make more extensive inquiries about criminal background where the employee has access to money or personal or proprietary information.

Illinois has a similar law under which employers can’t ask applicants about any criminal convictions until after the initial interview.

Bed Bath & Beyond Alters Criminal Conviction Rule in Settlement With NY Attorney General

Being a convicted felon will no longer be an automatic disqualifier for a job with Bed Bath & Beyond, at least in New York.

The state attorney general announced last week that the national retailer had agreed to drop its policy of never hiring a convicted felon, following an investigation that uncovered the fact that at a job fair the company announced that it didn’t hire persons with felony records, even if they had been rehabilitated.

Problem is that stance violated the requirement under a New York statute to consider each applicant’s individual circumstances in deeming whether a criminal conviction rules out employment.

That individualized consideration must include factors such as the nature and gravity of the criminal conviction and what bearing, if any, it has on any specific responsibilities of the particular job. Other factors include the time elapsed since the conviction, the applicant’s age when the crime occurred, and whether the person has been rehabilitated.

As part of the settlement of the investigation, the company agreed to pay $125,000, including $40,000 for restitution awards to persons unlawfully denied employment under its no-convictions policy.

BB&Y has 62 stores in New York.

Here’s Attorney General Eric Scheiderman’s announcement of the settlement.

EEOC Guidance Gives Examples, Best Practices on Arrest Record and Criminal History Use

Employers fearful that their questions on arrest records and criminal convictions might make them vulnerable to liability under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act can now consult a new guidance document from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission laying out the parameters for what’s acceptable and what is not.

Better yet, the guidance issued today gives a long list of factors to consider when evaluating criminal history, and offers a dozen examples of best practices in this area.

The Seyfarth Shaw law firm has already done the heavy lifting in explaining and analyzing the guidance, and I commend their blog to you on this important development.