Senator Lena Taylor is proposing a bill that would prohibit businesses from asking job applicants if they are a felon on job applications.
Banning the box still allow employers to conduct a background check.
However, the employers would delay asking about a felony conviction until later in the hiring process, either after the interview or a conditional offer of employment.
This is also known as “fair chance” because it gives job applicants who have rehabilitated a fair shot at earning a family-supporting job.
Generally speaking, I think businesses should be willing to hire felons if they are the most qualified for the job and if the felony conviction isn’t directly related to the job activity. The felons are out of jail and in our society. The best way to integrate them back into society is for them to have gainful employment (and somewhere to live, but that’s another subject). Being a felon shouldn’t automatically disqualify a person from holding most jobs. The exception would be jobs that involve a high degree of discretion and trust – like a police officer, judge, CFO, etc.
As Taylor is proposing it, employers would still have the discretion to disqualify felons further into the hiring process if appropriate, but would not be able to disqualify them at the start. This would help more felons at least get a shot at a job. A felon who may have otherwise been eliminated at the point of application may get the chance to impress an interviewer and be considered for the job before having to explain a felony conviction. The cost is that employers (and the applicants) would have to spend time and money processing people who may get disqualified in the end anyway.
Some work needs to be done on it, but this bill is worth considering.