“Ban the Box” to Become the Law for Federal Employers

Later today in Newark, New Jersey President Obama will announce an Executive Order prohibiting questions about criminal history on federal job applications. The announcement comes after years of nationwide lobbying by the “ban the box” movement. The Executive Order is geared toward giving people convicted of crimes a chance to land a job.

It’s no secret that most employers reject job applicants who reveal a criminal history on a job application. Prohibiting criminal history questions on an application will at least keep people in the running for a job. Employers will still be permitted to run background checks. There are no laws forbidding employers to base hiring decisions on background checks, so the ban the box order may not result in more employment for people with a crime on their record. It will, however, increase their employment opportunities. It remains up to the individual to demonstrate that despite their history they have experience and skills that make them the most qualified applicant.

To help convicts get a job the State of Ohio created Certificates of Qualification for Employment (“CQE”). Ohio employers who hire a CQE holder are protected from lawsuits arising from conduct by the holder. Getting sued is often a reason why many employers do not want to hire people with a criminal history. Read more about the process of obtaining a CQE here.

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