If you employ four or more employees within the city of Rochester, New York, you will soon be required to “Ban the Box”… and that goes for public and private employers alike.
The Rochester City Council voted unanimously to prohibit employers from asking about criminal history on job applications. The ban, which takes effect in October, does allow exceptions for police and firefighters and other jobs for which a conviction would automatically take an applicant out of the running. Click here to read the whole ordinance.
City Councilman Adam McFadden says state law does not allow employers to discriminate, but those asking about criminal history before ever speaking with an applicant, are doing just that. While a box asking about convictions will no longer be allowed on job applications, McFadden says employers are free to ask the question during an interview.
Supporters of Ban the Box legislation say this ability to explain the circumstances face-to-face might open doors for many who have not been able to get back into the workforce after a run-in with the law.
How would you like to hand over your social security number, birthdate and other important information to someone who has been convicted of a crime? Seems like a pretty dumb thing to do, but that’s what some fear is happening as people try to sign up for the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
With no background screens required, 31 convicted criminals got jobs as navigators in California, eight in Nevada and several in Delaware. The Associate Press found that others had been sued, some several times, for unpaid debts and taxes.
Even though there have been no reports of identity theft…and the feds don’t require it… several states are adding criminal background checks or licensing requirements for those hired to handle consumers’ personal information.
The way the states are dealing with this issue seems to be falling right on party lines. Most of the states that have passed additional requirements have a Republican-led legislature. Those with a Democratic majority tend to deal with criminal records on a case-by-case basis.
The ACA allows states to impose additional requirements, and at least 19 have done so. Right now, Missouri lawmakers are in a legal battle after a federal judge blocked the enactment of a new law requiring a state-licensing test, nearly double the number of training hours and large fines for any violations. The judge believes the Missouri rules create an “impermissible obstacle,” which is not allowed. That appeal is still pending.
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Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.