Thirteen states-including Vermont and Virginia as of 2015-and 100 cities and counties around the country have removed the conviction history box and moved the background check to a later stage in the hiring process. What’s behind this movement, and how can it benefit prospective employees?
High unemployment among those with criminal backgrounds has an economic cost for everyone: The Center for Economic and Policy Research found that high unemployment rates among ex-cons costs about $60 billion a year in lost productivity-goods and services that they could be providing. In 2012, the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commissionreleased guidance that made it clear that making hiring decisions based solely on an individual’s arrests and convictions is a violation of civil rights laws.
This “fair chance” policy advocates for removing the box asking about criminal convictions on job applications and moving background checks that reveal criminal histories to later in the hiring process, so that a prospective employee’s skills, experience and education can play a larger role in hiring decisions. It recommends that employers consider time passed since the offense and its relevance to the job. You can follow progress of Ban the Box bills around the country here.
However, even without Ban the Box legislation in West Virginia, the EEOC has made it clear that you can’t be judged simply on your conviction history. If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination based on your past, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.
Our attorneys have more than 35 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.