Minnesota’s “Ban the Box” Bill Helps Ex-Offenders Find Employment
Many in Minnesota are hopeful that Governor Mark Dayton will sign a bill banning employers from asking a job applicant about their criminal history before the interviewing stage of the hiring process.
Advocates say the “Ban the Box” bill will give folks with criminal records a chance to enter back into and enrich their communities by seizing employment.
If the bill becomes law, Minnesota will be the ninth state to do so.
In Minnesota, politicians on both sides of the aisle are lining up to take credit for the bill’s success. State Sen. Roger Chamberlain, a Republican, was one of the bill’s authors. “In Minnesota, we have one of the lowest incarceration rates in the nation, so most of the people who are convicted are on parole or probation,” he said on Wednesday. “The best thing someone like that can do to reintegrate into the community is get a job.”
Mark Haase, co-chair of the Second Chance Coalition, a Minnesota advocacy group for ex-offenders, said he believed the business community “saw the writing on the wall.” He mentioned a series of recent lawsuits against businesses that allegedly discriminated against applicants with criminal records, and a set of guidelines issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission expressing the agency’s view that “an employer’s use of an individual’s criminal history in making employment decisions may, in some instances,” violate federal anti-discrimination law.
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