Columbia Won't Ask Criminal, Wage History on Initial Job Applications

by Chris Trainor - FreeTimes

The City of Columbia has passed a law that it will not ask for job seekers’ criminal history on initial employment applications, and it will encourage vendors that do business with the city to also eliminate criminal history from their applications.

The new law also stipulates that the city will not ask for a prospective employee’s wage history when considering that person for a job.

Columbia City Council unanimously passed final reading on the new law at an Aug. 6 meeting.

The practice of omitting a criminal history question on an application is commonly known as “banning the box.” According to the National Employment Law Project, 35 states and more than 150 cities and counties have adopted a “ban the box” policy, essentially choosing to eliminate the question of a person’s criminal history from initial job applications. Richland County Council voted to establish such a policy in early June. 

The theory is that, if an employer sees on an application that a person has a criminal background, they could develop an opinion about that person before ever taking a closer look into their qualifications and abilities. Banning the box could help eliminate that initial barrier. The City of Columbia has been practicing “ban the box” in its own internal hiring practices for about three years, per city officials. The new measure formally makes it city law, and takes the extra step of encouraging the entities that do business with the city to follow the same practices.

https://www.postandcourier.com/free-times/news/local_and_state_news/columbia-won-t-ask-criminal-wage-history-on-initial-job/article_8a99bd08-bcff-11e9-b957-3346d1789023.html

Employing the Formerly Incarcerated: A Global Perspective

by Jathan Janove, J.D. - SHRM

Much attention has been focused recently on second-chance employment in the United States. But what is happening in other countries regarding employing the formerly incarcerated?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) "is committed to learn more about how countries around the globe have addressed second-chance employment," SHRM President and Chief Executive Officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, said, "so we find responsible ways to bring the formerly incarcerated back to the workplace while ensuring worker and customer safety."

Internationally, second-chance employment depends on a country's background-check laws, data-privacy laws and laws banning discrimination on the basis of conviction history, according to Darren Gardner, an attorney with Seyfarth Shaw in San Francisco.

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/global-second-chance-employment.aspx

New Jersey Adds to Recent Flood of Salary History Ban Laws

by William Simmons - JDSUPRA

Continuing the recent deluge of salary history ban laws,1 on July 25, 2019, New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver signed Bill A1094 into law.2 Like other recent laws limiting salary history inquiries, New Jersey’s law prohibits employers from screening job applicants based on the applicant’s prior salary history, which includes prior wages, salary or benefits.  In addition, employers may not require that an applicant’s salary history satisfy any minimum or maximum threshold to be considered for a job.  The new law takes effect on January 1, 2020.

The law provides for a private right of action as well as civil penalties from $1,000-$10,000 per violation depending on the circumstances.  The law does not expressly define what conduct will be considered as a single “violation” for purposes of calculating penalties.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/new-jersey-adds-to-recent-flood-of-81944/

NY Legislature Passes Bills To Extend Coverage Of Plain Language Law And Prohibit Use Of Social Network Information For Evaluating Creditworthiness

Two bills relevant to consumer finance have been passed by the New York Assembly and Senate and are awaiting Governor Cuomo’s signature.

House Committee Passes Bill to Ban Employment Credit Checks

The House Committee on Financial Services on July 11 passed legislation that would prohibit employers from using credit reports for employment decisions, except when required by law or for a national security clearance.

Colorado Enacts 'Ban the Box' Legislation to Take Effect in September 2019

In an effort to prevent persons with criminal records from being automatically ruled out for job vacancies, Colorado Governor Jared Polis has signed “ban the box” legislation. The new law will go into effect in September 2019 for employers with at least 11 employees, and employers with fewer than 11 employees have until September 2021 to comply. This makes Colorado the 13th state to enact “ban the box” legislation for private employers.

The National Criminal Database Search – What Does It Really Get You?

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners offers an accreditation program for Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) located in the United States. Governed by a strict and thorough set of professional standards of specified requirements and measurements, the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP) has become a widely recognized seal of approval bringing national recognition to an employment background screening-affiliated organization for its commitment to achieving excellence through high professional standards with accountability that results in continued institutional improvement.

New Mexico Joins the Nationwide Movement to "Ban the Box"

On April 3, 2019, New Mexico expanded the state’s “Ban the Box” law to include private employers. “Ban the Box” is a nationwide effort to eliminate the checkbox on employment applications inquiring into applicants’ criminal history. Over the last few years, thirty-four states have joined the movement to “Ban the Box.”

Texas's Challenge to EEOC Guidance on Background Checks Continues

A federal appellate court recently heard oral arguments in a case challenging the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC's) guidelines limiting the use of criminal background checks in employment decisions.