Georgia and Virginia consider ban-the-box legislation

Gov. Nathan Deal signed an Executive Order to remove criminal history questions from job applications in the state of Georgia. This move makes Georgia the fourteenth state in the U.S. to pass statewide ban-the-box legislation. (Both the city of Atlanta and Fulton County already had ban-the-box policies in place.) “[Ban-the-box] policies allow returning citizens an opportunity to explain their unique circumstances in person to a potential employer,” the Order states. “The ban-the-box policy should be used to establish practices that … prevent the use of an application form that inappropriately excludes and discriminates against qualified job applicants.” The Executive Order only affects state agencies, so private employers will still have the option to ask questions about past criminal convictions. In addition, the Order provides a loophole for “sensitive governmental positions” that require applicants to have a clean criminal record, such as police officers or corrections officers. Meanwhile, Virginia is also considering passing statewide ban-the-box legislation. Twelve cities in Virginia — and one county that borders Washington D.C. — already have ban-the-box policies, and the Virginia Senate has approved a ban-the-box bill in a 21-7 vote. This bill also applies to state agencies, and prevents employers from asking about criminal records until a conditional offer of employment has been extended. The bill will now be going to Virginia’s House of Delegates. The House has rejected similar bills before, but if it manages to pass the House and get the approval of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Virginia may well become the fifteenth state to ban the box. More than 100 cities, counties and states have “fair chance” hiring policies in place, according to the National Employment Law Project.]]>

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