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Employment Law Project (“NELP”) partnered with several other organizations to
spearhead a grassroots movement to encourage employers to change their policies
to consider the qualification of job applicants without consideration of their
criminal history. Prior to the efforts
of NELP, it was commonplace for an employer to ask a job applicant whether the
applicant has been convicted of a crime.
NELP’s efforts have paid
off. Today, twenty-five states have state-wide
ban-the-box or fair-chance laws. These
states include 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, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. Additionally, 150 cities and counties have
adopted similar policies.
jurisdictions have also adopted policies akin to the EEOC’s 2012 Guidance on
the use of arrest and conviction records in the hiring process. For example, some jurisdictions prohibit
employers from asking about criminal arrests and convictions until after a
conditional offer of employment has been extended and, when that time comes,
require the employer to consider external factors including the job-relatedness
of the conviction, extenuating circumstances and rehabilitative issues.
With ban-the-box and fair-chance laws on the rise, employers
should remain diligent with regard to revisiting their handbooks and other