Washington D.C. latest to ban the box on job applications

DC Box Ban ImageAt the beginning of September, Washington D.C. passed its own ban-the-box law, joining the ranks of many other cities and states in preventing employers from requiring job applicants to state whether or not they have ever been convicted of a crime on an initial job application or during a first interview. The new law, called the Fair Criminal Record Screening Act of 2014, applies to any employer — public, private, or government entity — with more than 10 employees. The court system is excluded from the law, as are positions in which federal or district law requires a candidate to pass background checks prior to hiring, such as those working for schools, nursing homes and day care centers. Background checks may only be conducted once a conditional employment offer has been extended to a candidate; even then, the offer may only be revoked if it is for a “legitimate business reason,” per the D.C. Council. “This is critically important,” said Kenyan McDuffie, who is a member of the D.C. Council. “It allows returning citizens to be judged on their merits prior to consideration of their past.” Furthermore, under the Act, if a candidate feels they have been passed over for a position based upon their criminal conviction — and the conviction would not affect the candidate’s ability to do the job — he or she may file a complaint to the D.C. Office of Human Rights. If the Office of Human Rights determines that the law has been violated, it will then fine the offending employer on a sliding scale, based on the number of employees that company maintains. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray signed the legislation, which will go into effect at the beginning of October, pending mandatory review by Congress. photo credit: VinothChandar via photopin cc]]>

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