Bill may limit criminal background checks in Michigan

bill (H.R. 6220) introduced by Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-MI) would prohibit employers from asking about or checking an applicant’s criminal record until a conditional offer of employment has been made. Known as the “Ban the Box” bill, it would even prohibit the employer from asking the applicant to mark a box on the application form indicating whether he or she has a criminal record, according to Security Management. The bill states that employers may check an applicant’s criminal record only if the job duties in question “may involve an unreasonable risk to the safety of specific individuals or to the general public.” The specific jobs that fit into this category, as well as what factors constitute an “unreasonable risk,” would be determined via the rulemaking process. Opposition  Opponents of the bill claim that employers are often found liable when employees commit crimes,  and this bill would affect an employer’s ability to assess whether a potential new employee might be a risk to the company, the other employees or the customers. Clarke However, bill creator Rep. Hansen Clarke stated that “current conviction record screening practices for employment, which have skyrocketed in recent decades, lead to many applicants being rejected in the first round of the hiring process even if they have only committed a misdemeanor unrelated to the job. This leads to increased recidivism as people with conviction records who cannot find jobs are far more likely to commit additional crimes.” Whatever route Michigan decide to go, it’s imperative that they maintain some form of employment screening to protect businesses from risk. While Clarke makes an important point relating to providing second chances for those who have irrelevant misdemeanors, rectifying this cannot come at the expense of innocent parties. Do you have an opinion on the “Ban the Box” bill?]]>

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