The Impact of Obama’s ‘Second Chances Speech’ On Your Hiring Policies
“People deserve a second chance after having made a mistake.” President Obama spoke these words on July 13, 2015, as he cut short the prison sentences of 46 men and women convicted for drug offenses.
Obama’s reasoning? “Their punishments didn’t fit the crime,” he said. “And if they’d been sentenced under today’s laws, nearly all of them would have already served their time.”
Not only is Obama pardoning criminals, In his speech on reforming the criminal justice, the President also conveyed his heartfelt support for the Ban-the-Box movement to give prisoners more job opportunities.
What Does Ban-the-Box Represent?
Millions of adults that have criminal records experience difficulty finding respectable jobs after serving their sentence. Ban-the-box legislation gives applicants with criminal records a fair chance and encourages employers to judge job candidates on their merits first. It prohibits employers from asking about criminal convictions on job applications. Some states also require that criminal background checks be run only after the candidate is seriously considered for a job.
The public sector has already implemented the ban-the-box policy, meaning that a prior conviction would no longer automatically disqualify anyone applying to work for the federal government so that former prisoners who have done their time and are looking to integrate back into society have a decent shot in a job interview.
What Does Ban-the-Box Mean for Your Firm?
Over 18 states and 100 cities and counties have already passed the ban-the-box statutes, and if your firm is operating in an area that has passed the ban-the-box rules, you need to comply with the rules that are in place. Even if your county or state has not passed the legislation, it is still a good idea to understand the rules and design a system to approach criminal history questions. Regardless of whether or not you operate from a ban-the-box state it is important to remember that every criminal background check for employment must first and foremost comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
It should be noted that the legislation does not prevent you from conducting criminal background check as long as it is used at the right stage of the hiring process. Also, you are still allowed to consider the implications of criminal records for particular positions. For instance, job positions that involve working with finances may have a policy to exclude people who have committed crimes such as theft or forgery.
In addition to the FCRA and ban-the-box, the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) commission has released guidelines on how to address criminal records when you do run a criminal background check for employment. The aim of this guideline is to ensure that criminal background check information is not used to discriminate, but rather used to make a thoughtful decision based on the type of crime, how long ago the crime has been convicted, and whether the candidate has rehabilitated.
A Good Employee offers valuable resources to help you comply with the FCRA, EEOC, and ban-the-box when conducting a criminal background check. Get a free consultation by contacting us to learn how we can customize our solution to your hiring requirements.