House Passes Fair Chance Act

Bill gives formerly incarcerated job seekers a better shot at finding employment

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer July 26, 2019
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​The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation prohibiting federal agencies and federal contractors from asking about job applicants' criminal history until after making a conditional employment offer.

"This legislation will remove the steep hurdles that deny individuals who have paid their debt to society from finding a job and allow them to have the dignity of work," said Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., a leading supporter of the bill and co-sponsor of companion legislation in the Senate.

We've rounded up articles and resources from SHRM Online on the news.

Federal 'Ban-the-Box' Law Would Apply to Agencies, Contractors

The Fair Chance Act would apply to the executive, legislative and judicial branches, including the U.S. Postal Service. It would also apply to private-sector companies with federal contracts.

The legislation expands the prohibition to millions of federal contractors for the first time and codifies existing Office of Personnel Management policy at federal agencies. It also mandates that the federal government collect data on those with criminal records who are hired—information that has been lacking in the states that have enacted fair chance hiring reforms.

A companion bill passed out of the U.S. Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in February.

(SHRM Online)

What Employers Need to Know About Ban-the-Box Laws

As of July 2019, more than 150 cities and counties, as well as 34 states, have passed ban-the-box or fair chance laws. The dilemma for HR and hiring managers lies in finding the balance between giving applicants with a criminal history a chance to be evaluated on their qualifications and being liable for negligent hiring.

(SHRM Online)

Hiring People with Criminal Backgrounds Is Easier Than You Think

Second-chance hiring—recruiting and hiring people with criminal backgrounds and eliminating obstacles to those efforts—is building momentum.

Genevieve Martin, executive director of Dave's Killer Bread Foundation, a prominent voice in the second-chance movement, led a panel of experts to address what many may be thinking: Second-chance hiring is well-intentioned, sure, but how do we actually do it?

(SHRM Online)

SHRM Urges Employers to Consider Applicants with Criminal Histories

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) launched Getting Talent Back to Work, an initiative encouraging workers and their organizations to pledge that they will give opportunities to qualified job applicants with criminal backgrounds.

(SHRM Online)

Ban-the-Box Laws by State and Municipality

Some jurisdictions prohibit an employer from asking if an applicant has been convicted of a crime until a specified point in the hiring cycle. Several states also have laws restricting an employer's ability to use credit history in making employment decisions. Find out more about your jurisdiction with this SHRM resource.

(SHRM Online)

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