Colorado and Wyoming consider 'ban the box' legislation for private employers

In recent weeks, two more states have seen new ‘ban the box’ legislation introduced that may prevent employers from discriminating against qualified job applicants that have a criminal record. Both Colorado and Wyoming have had bills sponsored that would prevent private employers from including a check box on job applications inquiring about an individual’s criminal history. “What this does is at least gives the applicant an opportunity to explain their circumstances to a real, live person,” said Wyoming Rep. James Byrd, who is the lead sponsor of that state’s ban-the-box bill. The bill that Rep. Byrd plans to introduce in the Wyoming Legislature during the Feb. 2016 session would allow employers to ask questions about an applicant’s criminal record during the interview, and the employer could still conduct background checks on any potential employee. Once the new legislative session has begun, the Wyoming bill would require legislators to give it two-thirds vote in order to be debated further. Meanwhile, Colorado has already introduced similar legislation, which aims to remove the criminal history check box, but that still provides employers the right to conduct background checks after an interview. In fact, this bill would be in keeping with the state’s policies, as Colorado stopped using the criminal-history check box on state job applications a few years back. An estimated 1 million Colorado residents have some kind of criminal record. Currently, 19 states and more than 100 cities and counties have some form of ban-the-box legislation in place.]]>

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