As the movement to eliminate potential employment barriers for individuals with a criminal record continues, Vermont is the newest state to pass legislation to “Ban the Box” in the early stages of the application process for public and private sector employment. “Ban the Box” AKA “Fair Chance Policy” aims to reduce recidivism rates and future incarcerations of prior offenders. The policy will help individuals with criminal records “have a fair chance” to be actively considered for employment opportunities despite having blemished records when they are applying for jobs in their attempt to attain employment.
Vermont Governor, Peter Shumlin, signed the legislation on May 3, 2016; however, this legislation does not become effective until July 1, 2017. The time delay will be implemented so that employers will have adequate time to adjust employment processes to comply with this law. The bill, H.261, prohibits employers from asking criminal conviction related questions initially on a job application. Employers are still allowed to ask questions about convictions later in the hiring process. Certain exemptions exist on this law, please consult your company’s legal team for more information on the exemptions and criteria to qualify.
Upcoming “Ban the Box” Legislation
Vermont “Ban the Box” legislation is only the latest to be adopted a state. Currently, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Illinois, New Jersey and Oregon all have statewide Ban the Box legislation for public and private employment. Other states, cities and municipalities have enacted localized or public employment related legislation related to the Ban the Box concept. To keep abreast of states and cities who enact “Ban the Box” legislation, the National Employment Law Project (NELP) has an interactive map that provides an overview of the current legislative status. For the actual legislation, you will need to go directly to the state or city government website to access the passed law(s) in its comprehensive language.
Employers need to be aware of the legislation that exists and what legislation is pending to be prepared for the potential impact on their organizations. If your organization currently has hiring practices in multiple states and cities, or posts job listings nationally, it is important to be cognizant of the locales’ legal expectations and determine if you need to alter verbiage on your employment application(s) and/or change specific steps in your hiring practices to be compliant with “Ban the Box” legislation.
Please note: The ExactHire team is not legal counsel, and we do not offer legal advice so any questions regarding your company’s eligibility for exemption with the “Ban the Box” legislation and/or proper verbiage for your company’s employment application(s) should be discussed with your company’s legal counsel. To learn specifically how Vermont’s H.261 affects your organization’s hiring practices, please contact your company’s legal team.
At ExactHire, we take pride in doing our best to ensure our clients’ satisfaction is the highest possible. We do whatever we can to resolve clients’ current needs and identify potential needs. After you speak with your legal counsel, and if you and your legal team decide changes need to be made to your employment application(s) to comply with legislation, the ExactHire team can work with you to create a new application with the verbiage you specify for compliance. Also, please know that one of the benefits of using ExactHire’s HireCentric software as your applicant tracking system is that you can create multiple employment applications, each specific to your needs. If you are an existing client looking for more information about updating your current employment application(s) and/or creating additional employment applications, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know your needs.