Utah bill to preclude criminal history on employment background checks

Utah Convictions ImageUtah legislators in the state House of Representatives have voted to approve a bill that would prevent pre-employment background checks from turning up potential employee criminal history records unless the candidate was convicted. SB145 states that criminal history records may not be disseminated to potential employers if they contain charges that have been dropped. If the subject has been acquitted, if the case was dismissed or if the prosecution declined to press charges, it would not show up in a candidate’s criminal history report. This means that if a potential employee was charged with a crime, but was not declared guilty, no record of the case would show up in a criminal history report. The bill is intended to prevent employers from penalizing otherwise qualified candidates that have been accused of a crime, but that have not been found guilty. All prosecuted charges and convictions would still show up on a background check. The bill was approved by a 69-6 vote in the House of Representatives. The bill will now continue on to the state Senate, and if it passes there, it will go to the Utah governor to be signed into law. This measure is similar to the “Ban the Box” legislation that several other states, including Rhode Island and California, are adopting, in its attempts to prevent discrimination during pre-employment screening. The “Ban the Box” movement, however, is intended to prevent discrimination against those who have been convicted, whereas this bill attempts to prevent discrimination against those who may have a criminal history, but who have not been declared guilty of the charges. Utah does not currently have any “Ban the Box” legislation in the books.]]>

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