California’s state Senate approved a bill that changes the state’s job application policy regarding felony conviction questions.
Assembly Bill 218 is part of “Ban the Box,” a growing movement led by the National Employment Law Project.
Specifically targeting the check-box criminal background question commonly found of job applications, the bill aims to combat employer discrimination against ex-convicts.
In 2010, the state moved that question and another regarding domestic abuse convictions from its standard job application to a supplemental form. Applicants fill out the supplemental form when it’s appropriate for the work they’re seeking. Like state policy, the Dickinson measure doesn’t prohibit asking any public job applicant whether they have a felony record. But agencies can’t use that information to screen applicants up front. Instead, employers must determine a prospective hire’s qualifications first. Dickinson has framed his bill as a way to cut down recidivism, because studies show that released convicts are less likely to reoffend if they’re employed.
Assembly Bill 218 is authored by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento. It will now go to Gov. Jerry Brown for approval.
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